Resolution

WHEREAS, Globea is a nonprofit organisation dedicated to the principles of justice, non-violence, and the observance of human rights in all countries, and

WHEREAS, the Globea International Conference on Tolerance and Human Rights, held in Prague on 20-22 January 2000, attracted over 100 human rights and education experts from Albania, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, England, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands, Poland, Scotland, Serbia, Slovakia, South Africa, Switzerland, the Ukraine, and United States, and

WHEREAS, we conference attendees have cross-cultural and inter-cultural familiarity with the patterns of majority-minority relations wherein the inequality of resources and authority often leads to dominance and denial of equal rights, and

WHEREAS, a particular conference focus was on minority rights issues in the Czech Republic and included site visits to various educational facilities to learn first-hand about the educational process, and

WHEREAS, we recognize the good intentions of Czech civic leaders and educators to make the nation's democratic ideals a greater actuality by protecting and providing for the rights of all its people, and recognizing our mutual duties to work cooperatively,

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, WE URGE

1) The adoption of inclusive approaches in mainstream elementary, secondary, and post- secondary schools which would enable them to be effective in educating a wider diversity of pupils, including those from ethnic and/or linguistic minorities, those with disabilities, and those at socioeconomic disadvantage. Following the principles set forward in the 1996 Hague Recommendations Regarding the Education Rights of National Minorities, elaborated upon request of the High Commissioner on National
Minorities. These approaches would include the:

a. Complete transformation of the Czech school system through a planned and
published 2-4 year programme for the dissolution of zvlastni skoly (schools for children with medium learning difficulties), during which time minority children who would previously have been selected for them are enrolled in mainstream schools and children already in them are transferred to mainstream classes in mainstream schools unless parents specifically request their children's enrollment in minority schools; Abandonment of early assessment/selection procedures which often separate and stigmatize pupils and may lead to lowered teacher expectations and subsequent lower pupil performance;

b. Abandonment of early assessment/selection procedures which often separate and stigmatize pupils and may lead to lowered teacher expectations and subsequent lower pupil performance;

c. Development of intensive pre-school early intervention programmes in the child's language and in respectful partnership with the parents of children who would most benefit from such support towards learning;

d. Sharing of a common curriculum framework for all pupils applied flexibly to allow for some variability in pupil progress through it, and to acknowledge the diversity of pupils' knowledge, abilities, interests, and skills (including those beyond the conventionally academic);

e. Implementation of a multi-cultural curriculum for all students, regardless of ethnic origin and cultural background, which encourages an understanding and respect for other cultures;

f. Teaching minority children mainly in the minority language in the early stages of their education with the State language taught on a regular basis as a subject, preferably by bilingual teachers familiar with the children's cultural and linguistic backgrounds, with a gradual increase of other subjects taught in the State language through the primary and secondary curriculum;

g. Development of children's educational television programming (the equivalent of Sesame Street) in Roma, Slovak, Polish, evt. other languages and bridging it into Czech;

h. Provision of additional help in mainstream schools for pupils who need it and for teachers who work with them, through the transfer of zvlastni skoly teachers and assistants, and other specialist services and resources to mainstream schools;

i. Intensive recruitment of minority students into teacher-training programmes and an insistence on their employment throughout the nation's schools, including schools with few or no minority pupils;

j. Full implementation of initial and continuing in-service teacher education programmes to provide preparation and expertise to teach in a multicultural classroom;

2) The full utilization of formally-educated Roma teaching assistants and social advisors to promote the value of education among the Roma families in their district;

3) Detailed anti-discrimination legislation, both defining discrimination and identifying explicit remedies in order to make equal opportunities in education, employment and public services a cornerstone of Czech society;

4) A vigorous educational campaign to make adults, as well as children:

a. Understand that all racial and ethnic groups share far more commonalities than differences;

b. Accept, appreciate, and respect the diversity of human society;

c. Understand that all society benefits economically and socially when every individual is empowered to be full, productive members;

d. Understand that when any member of society is denied rights and life opportunities, all of society suffers.

5 May 2000
Signed,

 

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