London Metropolitan University Research Institutes

Hungarian students' perceptions of the Roma minority

Author(s) Ákos Gocsál  
Publisher CiCe Publications  
Year 2000  
Editor Alistair Ross, Curricula for Citizenship in Europe  
Language English  
Age group -  
Comments: Public education in Hungary has changed substantially in the past fifteen years and still there is an energetic tendency towards further change. In 1985 (still in the communist period) an Education Act made it possible to introduce alternative curricula, and, after 1989/90, some schools typical of the pre-communist period were re-born (particularly the sixth and eighth grade secondary schools, which offered a considerable alternative to the four year schools of secondary education). The market for textbooks has also extended considerably. However teacher education has been slow to react to these changes. A survey by Ballér (1993) demonstrated that most of the Hungarian institutes of teacher education still insist on teaching the traditional subjects (psychology, theory, history of education, didactics etc.). The advantage of this is that students will receive the most recent findings on the subject and an in-depth knowledge of these fields. However, relative! ly little room is left for an interdisciplinary approach and issues that require such an approach will suffer. A particular example of this is the issue of minorities. There is clearly little chance for success if, for example, a special programme for the integration or support of Roma pupils focuses purely on classroom activities. If there is no understanding or knowledge of the culture, history and values of the minority group, such a programme will most likely fail or, even worse, will ?prove? for representatives of the majority group that the minority students are not capable of learning and need to be directed to psychologists and other specialists of learning difficulties.

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