Kalinak: Slovakia Has Passed Measures to Minimise Roma Segregation

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Slovak Interior Minister Robert Kalinak. (Stock photo by TASR)

Bratislava, March 1 (TASR) – Slovakia has implemented programmes that minimise the risk of segregating Roma children and improve their situation and chances of participating in the education system, said Interior Minister Robert Kalinak on Wednesday.

Kalinak responded in this manner to criticism heaped on Slovakia in a report on the segregation of Roma pupils drafted by Amnesty International (AI) and the European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC).

“We’ve prepared programmes aimed at improving the situation, and the projects that are being introduced even as we speak will yield desirable results, whether it be in segregation prevention or the better pre-school preparation of Roma children,” said Kalinak.

The minister claimed that if Amnesty International measures the segregation of Roma children in education according to their frequent assignment to special schools due to incorrect evaluations of their readiness for school, then this “hyperbolises segregation”. “In this case, it’s a professional issue for specialists, psychologists and the issue of revising criteria that guide the assignment of children to schools with a special approach,” stated Kalinak.

According to the AI and ERRC report, entitled Lesson in Discrimination: The Segregation of Roma Children in Primary Education in the Slovak Republic, Roma pupils continue to be over-represented in special schools or segregated into strictly Roma classes. “They engage in the opposite of what is called the fight against discrimination,” said ERRC executive director Adam Weiss.