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Árpád Rátkai: Non-Hungarian Children in the Educational Institutions of Szeged

There had been no ethnic minorities living in the town of Szeged but through the processes of settling and immigration they comprise 2–3% of the population today. There is a great ethnic diversity with 13 ethnic communities maintaining an association for educational and cultural issues. Organisation and awareness has resulted in the growing preference for using the mother tongue. The associations are organising mother tongue classes for children. The number of Gypsy children in kindergarten and school is not increasing, their ratio is 3–3.5%. One fourth of the Gypsies speak Gypsy as their mother tongue. The number of non-Hungarian and non-Gypsy children is growing except for that of the Serbians, which changes in relation to the Yugoslavian situation. Mother tongue classes were started for Serbian and Arabic children in school-based groups in 1998. For other minorities, mother tongue education is organised by civic initiatives. The numbers for the children were calculated with the method of teachers' estimates. This is based on the knowledge of the head teacher in the kindergarden or the class master or mistress in the school which, concerning the children's linguistic and ethnic identity, can be considered the most accurate. The results are more reliable this way than the figures based on the declarations of the children or the parents. The method is applicable in administrative units of any size and more accurate than the one based on self-reporting (parents' declarations). Because of the laws to protect personal information, there is no other possibility of an informed estimate of the ethnic profile of any settlement.

MAGYAR PEDAGÓGIA 99. Number 1. 23-37. (1999)

Levelezési cím / Address for correspondence: Rátkai Árpád, H–6721 Szeged, Lengyel u. 4/6.


Magyar Tudományos Akadémia