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Home arrow News arrow Humorous News arrow News arrow Classroom segregation endures despite extra gov't funding
Classroom segregation endures despite extra gov't funding PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 03 January 2008

Budapest, January 3  - Hungary's government has thrown a considerable amount of money at local schools struggling to eradicate Roma classroom segregation, but results so far suggest the problem is deep-rooted and not easily solved, said national daily Nepszabadsag on Thursday.

  Sociologists suggest that the extra funds available for schools in disadvantaged regions could be a part of the continuing problem.

 Schools taking part in the government's so-called integration programme, thereby qualifying for extra funding, end up stigmatised. Middle-class parents withdraw their children, sending them to better schools elsewhere. This, of course, defeats the purpose of integrating disadvantaged children with their mainstream peers.
 

 Forty teachers were interviewed from 45 schools. "The picture is shocking," said Szilvia Nemeth, a sociologist involved in the study.

 One researcher who interviewed teachers taking part in the integration programme described how teachers often threw their hands up in despair, saying it was impossible to teach such "material" -- referring to poor children, usually Roma, with a range of background problems.

The schools involved are required to adopt new teaching methods and make sure classrooms have an even mix of children with different abilities and attainments. Even in the better schools, teachers do not believe in what they are asked to do.

  Nemeth said some schools only take part in the programme to secure extra funding of 61,500 forints per pupil per year. These schools are so poor that they apply for a range of often conflicting programmes in order to secure extra income.

   In some cases these schools try to attract as many poor and disadvantaged children as possible in order to secure a better financial situation. As far as the actual goals are concerned, the schools pay lip service to incorporating new teaching methods and integrating pupils, the researchers found.

 Overburdened teachers were often unable to answer the question put to them: what is integrational education, and in some instances classroom segregation was the norm in schools receiving the extra funds. Part of the reason is that parents from disadvantaged backgrounds actually wanted teachers to be tough on their children and to stick to a more traditional front-of-class teaching style.

 One local mayor told Attila Z. Papp, a researcher with the Educational Research Council that carried out the study, that segregation was the only solution.

Gabor Daroczi, a former government commissioner for Roma integration, told the paper, "There is every chance of integration if local society looks favourably on the programme. It is sad but true that the majority of society has a big demand for segregation."
 

 

 
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