An ethnic segregation scandal involving Roma pupils at a public school in Iasi, Eastern Romania, broke into the local media. The Partida Romilor “Pro Europe” Association accused school representatives of isolating Roma pupils into separate classes and giving them a different break program so that they wouldn’t interact with Romanian pupils.
Apparently, this started after several classes from the Titu Maiorescu school, considered one of the best in Iasi, were moved to the Ion Neculce school, where most of the students are ethnic Roma children. This measure was taken last year because the Titu Maiorescu school became overpopulated. The Ion Neculce school is just a few hundred meters away from Titu Maiorescu.
To prepare this move, the pupils at Ion Neculce were all moved to the first floor of the school and the ground floor was freed to accommodate the Titu Maiorescu pupils. “It would have been simpler to merge the two schools, but this solution was not wanted,” Viorel Motas, the school inspector for minorities in Iasi told Adevarul.
Moreover, the School Inspectorate in the city even planned to create separate entrances and separate toilets for the pupils of the two schools sharing the same building, back in 2017, according to Elena Motas, an advisor for Roma issues at the Iasi Prefect’s Office.
She says the Ion Neculce school has over 200 pupils, 80% of whom are Roma. “They have brought here children from foster centers, who come from 8-10 kilometers away although they have schools closer to their homes, just because this is the “gypsy school”,” Elena Motas told Adevarul.
The principal of the Titu Maiorescu school denied the segregation accusations. She told Libertatea that the pupils from the two schools have different breaks so that they all get the chance to go to the toilet, as there are insufficient toilets in the building. “We consider these accusations completely unfounded, and we also have evidence in this regard,” said Oana Ichim, director of the Titu Maiorescu School, quoted by Libertatea.
A similar case was reported at the Bogdan Petriceicu Hasdeu school in Iasi, which was recently sanctioned together with the Iasi School Inspectorate, for moving most Roma pupils to a separate wing of the building.
Studies show that classes with a majority of Roma students also get less trained teachers, fewer resources, therefore, lower quality education, according to sociologist Gelu Duminica, quoted by Adevarul. “School has two major roles - professional-academic development and the development of the future citizen. When we teach them not to communicate between themselves, to hate each other, we teach them that the other is inferior just because he has a disability, is poorer or has a different color, what will the citizen of tomorrow look like?” Duminica says.
(Photo source: Scoala Gimnaziala Ion Neculce Iasi Facebook page)
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