Hungary: The situation within the educational system for a Roma child with Hungarian citizenship who returns to Hungary after being out of the country for many years and who speaks very little Hungarian
|Publisher||Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada|
|Author||Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Ottawa|
|Publication Date||29 February 2008|
|Citation / Document Symbol||HUN102761.E|
|Cite as||Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Hungary: The situation within the educational system for a Roma child with Hungarian citizenship who returns to Hungary after being out of the country for many years and who speaks very little Hungarian, 29 February 2008, HUN102761.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4804c0e328.html [accessed 20 May 2013]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
Information on the situation within the educational system for a Roma child with Hungarian citizenship who returns to Hungary after being out of the country for many years and who speaks very little Hungarian could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.
However, the Open Society Institute (OSI), a New York-based organization that promotes democratic governance, human rights and the rule of law (n.d.), provides the following information in a 2007 report on the Roma population and the Hungarian educational system:
Roma children are not consistently able to gain access to education in their mother tongue, although minority language education is provided for by law. Minority education, which does not necessarily mean minority language education, has been a longstanding problem in Hungary: in several cases Roma children have been given remedial "catch-up" classes rather than authentic minority education. Roma alone among the country's ethnic and national minorities have no accredited teaching material in their mother tongue at all, nor accredited teacher training courses where minority language-speaking teachers can study. (2007, 189)
The OSI adds that "Roma minority education is only seldom provided in Romanes or Beash, even to Roma children whose mother tongue is not Hungarian" (OSI 2007, 267). The United States (US) Department of State Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2006 corroborates the separation and placement of Roma children into remedial classes (6 Mar. 2007, Sec. 5). A 2005 report by Mercator-Education, a research organization that focuses on minority languages and education within the European Union (EU) (n.d.), states that most Roma children are schooled by means of remedial classes, or "catching up" programs (Mercator-Education 2005, 7).
According to the 2007 Amnesty International (AI) report on Hungary, the Roma community does not have comprehensive access to education. The Budapest Times reports in a 5 February 2008 article on a situation where Roma students were barred from attending classes full-time at a school in the central Hungarian town of Kerepes; the school was subsequently fined by the Hungarian government. The OSI reports that, in Hungary, "education in particular has been an area where Roma have been shown to fare worse than their non-Roma peers, despite governmental policies aimed at reducing barriers based on both ethnicity and socio-economic status" (OSI 2007, 187). Country Reports 2006 states that, according to the Hungary Ministry of Education, Roma children drop out of school at a much higher rate than the general school population (US 6 Mar. 2007, Sec. 5).
In contrast, the Hungarian delegation responding to remarks made by the United Nations (UN) Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights stated in May 2007 that equal opportunity for Roma children in the educational system was increasingly becoming a priority (UN 3 May 2007). The delegation stated that textbooks for Roma students were available at no charge and that affirmative action measures existed in the higher education system (ibid.).
According to a study conducted by Europa, the government of Hungary
has been active in establishing programmes for Roma integration concentrating on social well-being, employment and education. Within the field of education the focus lies on school attendance among Roma children more than on the use of a variety of Romani in education. Efforts to maintain Romani ... are restricted to the limited presence of Romani in the media and in cultural organisations. (EU 27 Oct. 2006)
This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.
Amnesty International (AI). 2007. "Hungary." Amnesty International Report 2007.
Budapest Times. 5 February 2008. "School Fined for Keeping Roma Children out of Classes."
European Union (EU). 27 October 2006. Europa. "The Romani in Hungary." The Euromosaic Study.
Mercator-Education: European Network for Regional or Minority Languages and Education. 2005. "The Romani and Beash Languages in Education in Hungary."
_____. N.d. "History."
Open Society Institute (OSI). 2007. "Hungary." Equal Access to Quality Education for Roma.
_____. N.d. "About OSI and the Soros Foundation Network."
United Nations (UN). 3 May 2007. UN Office at Geneva (UNOG). "Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Considers Report on Hungary." (UN: ESC07005E)
United States (US). 6 March 2007. Department of State. "Hungary." Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2006.
Additional Sources Consulted
Oral sources: Attempts to reach the president of a Roma organization in Hungary were unsuccessful. A professor of linguistics at the University of Texas at Austin was unable to provide information within the time constraints of this Response.
Internet sites, including: British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), European Country of Origin Information Network (ecoi.net), European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC), Fédération internationale des ligues de droit de l'homme (FIDH), Freedom House, Human Rights Watch (HRW), International Crisis Group (ICG), Radio France internationale (RFI), ReliefWeb, Reporters sans frontières, U.S. Committee for Refugees Annual Country Reports.