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Hungary: Experts raise alarm over authorities’ promotion of “benevolent segregation” of Roma school children

A new expert report takes aim at Hungary’s education system for its “benevolent segregation” of Roma children.

Today’s report from the Council of Europe’s Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, reveals that anti-Roma prejudice in schools is on the increase.

It states: “According to evidence collected by the authorities, segregation of Roma school children has become more widespread in recent years.

“Alarmingly, discrimination of Roma children has deepened, in particular as a result of the approach of “benevolent segregation” promoted by the authorities by which Roma children are expected to ‘catch up’ in separate Roma classes before their supposed inclusion in the mainstream education.”

In its reply to the report, Hungary’s government states: “During past years, significant measures were taken to prevent Roma children from eventually being wrongfully placed in special schools; e.g. the development of modern investigatory procedures and tests, protocols connected to the diagnose of special educational needs; monitoring before the diagnose of special educational needs; regular reviews; the development of a monitoring system that is also capable of recording nationality data.

“As a result of these measures, the ratio of schoolchildren with mild intellectual disability has decreased year by year, from 2.1% (2005) to 1.5% (2014).”

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