Special-needs kids get better access to bilingual schools
Children with special needs who are members of the Italian or Hungarian minority will have better access to bilingual education under changes unanimously enacted by the Slovenian parliament on 22 September.
The existing Act on Special Rights of Italian and Hungarian National Communities in Education made it impossible for children with special needs from attending schools with special programmes in the ethnically mixed localities if they did not reside in these specifically defined areas.
Under the amendments, parents who reside either temporarily or permanently outside the ethnically mixed areas will have the opportunity to enrol their children in special education schools in such areas.
The two MPs representing the Italian and Hungarian minorities welcomed the changes. Hungarian MP Ferenc Horvath said the law had been amended after years of calls from a Lendava bilingual primary school, the Hungarian minority organisations in the Pomurje, and the local authorities in Lendava.
Despite the progress, he said, there are still some open issues in this field, including the possibility of foreigners attending the bilingual primary school.
Coalition MPs argued that the amendments improved the efficiency of special need programmes and reduced the risk that they might be discontinued.
The Democrats (SDS), the biggest opposition party said it was crucial the came from "people who know the situation and are facing challenges on the ground".