news 23 May 13

Serbia Introduces Roma Classes to Schools

As of next school year, pupils in 70 Serbian municipalities will be able to take Roma language classes.

BIRN
Belgrade

The National Council of the Roma in Serbia has launched a process of introducing the Roma language and elements of Roma national culture to elementary schools.

"We have chosen 70 municipalities where the concentration of Roma is highest to hold classes in Roma," Vitomir Mihajlovic, President of the Council, said.

These comprise 30 municipalities in Serbia's northern province of Vojvodina and 40 in the rest of Serbia.  

According to Mihajlovic, classes in the Roma language will be held two hours per week and will be optional.

The initiative was launched in collaboration with the Serbian Ministry of Education, and in accordance with the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages and the Law on the Foundations of Education.

The main goal was to preserve the tradition, culture and language of the Roma, Mihajlovic added.

He also said that schools in other municipalities in Serbia who wish to introduce Roma language can also join.

According to the latest census, Serbia is home to about 110,000 Roma people. Serbia has 7 million people.

Usually having no documents and living in informal settlements, Roma are frequent victims of forced evictions and have to move to other informal settlements.

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