Czech educators visit inclusive schools in Leicester, U.K.

Czech-Study-Tour-in-UK-OSFThe Open Society Fund Prague organized a three-day study tour to the UK for 10 professionals from the Karlovy Vary region in western Czech Republic where the majority of Roma children are still segregated into so-called practical schools where limited, low-level curriculum is taught to them. The study tour aimed to inspire the participants – invited from various local agencies – to develop a strategy for inclusive education for their region.

The Leicester City Council helped to plan the tour. The Czech teachers, school psychologists, and the social, welfare and school officers attending the study tour were able to learn about the basic principles of inclusive schooling, how they work in practice, and the role of different authorities in a multi-agency approach.

Leicester has around 2,000 Czech and Slovak Roma families most of whom fled their home countries due to pervasive discrimination. While in the Czech Republic most of the Romani children were placed in “practical schools”, inLeicester, they go to mainstream schools and they actively participate in all school activities.

The participants have realized that Czech schools tend to blame Roma families, while the schools inLeicesteroffer help for those Roma families who are struggling. “What we see as a problem, they understand it as a challenge” said Světlana Sojková, head of school department in the Czech city of Sokolov and one of the study tour participants.

The study tour is a part of a three-year long pilot project of OSF Prague. Within the timeframe, the region should be able to develop a strategy for inclusive education and put the concepts into practice.

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