Ombudsman criticises education policy for Hungary's ethnic minorities
02 April 1998
The ombudsman for national and ethnic minority rights Mr Jenő Kaltenbach has called minority education in the country professionally chaotic and legally hazy. Kaltenbach told a press conference in Budapest on March 3 that the Minister of Culture should eliminate irregularities in the supply of textbooks for ethnic minorities and examine the causes of mass absence by Romani children from kindergarten education. He called upon the State Audit Office president to investigate irregularities in the use of standard additional support for national and ethnic minorities. Results of a study by the ombudsman showed that discrimination in educational institutions affects almost exclusively Roma at several levels. teachers pay less attention to them and expect less from them, while separating them either within a class or by putting all Romani pupils of a school inseparate classes. The Roma, Hungary’s largest minority, number over 500,000. Their living standards fall well behind those of the rest of Hungarian society, with unemployment exceeding the national average of 10%, and approaching full in many areas. Life expectancy within the Romani community remains under 50 years, while the national average is 74.7 years for women and over 66 years for men.