Kosovo authorities threatening Gorani over school curriculum - Serbian daily
BBC Monitoring Europe (Political) - December 5, 2008 Friday

Text of report by Serbian newspaper Politika website on 5 December

[Report by Biljana Radomirovic: "Children in Gora Do Not Go to School"]

Kosovska Mitrovica -- Two elementary schools in Gora in the Dragas municipality have been closed for three days now because the Kosovo Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology is bringing pressure to bear on the principals, teachers, and parents to sign contracts with this ministry and renounce the curricula prescribed by the Serbian Ministry of Education.

At Zenuni Brod Elementary School in Brod, which has 110 pupils, teachers are keeping vigil round the clock because the municipal authorities have threatened to lock them out. Kosovo authorities are putting pressure also on 22 Decembar School in the village of Restelica in the Dragas municipality, which has a 3,000-strong Gorani community and 550 schoolchildren. Gora Municipal Mayor Ali Abdi says for Politika that Usmen Baldzi, [Kosovo] deputy minister of education, science, and technology and a native of Brod, has explicitly said that the employees will be forcibly thrown out of the school unless they sign the contracts with the Kosovo ministry.

"This is just a continuation of pressure on the teachers and the parents. As everyone knows, elementary schoolchildren have been unable to attend classes in Nebojsa Jerkovic School in Dragas since September," Ali Abdi says, adding that, despite everything, the parents are standing firm on the position that the children should be taught according to the curricula prescribed by the Republic of Serbia, to which they have always been loyal.

Abdi further says that Dragas municipality people have even threatened the teaching staff with liquidation.

The schools in Gora are closed and teachers in the village of Rapca are receiving threats, too, as confirmed for our paper also by Predrag Stojcetovic, who heads the [Serbian] School Department for Kosovo-Metohija. Stojcetovic adds that the [Serbian] Education Ministry has been kept apprised of the situation, as has the Ministry for Kosovo-Metohija, which has been seeking protection from the OSCE and UNMIK [UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo] for the schoolchildren and the entire Gorani community.

Stojcetovic, too, says that he has been informed by school principals in the area about liquidation threats.

"If any parents should want their children to be taught according to the Kosovo ministry's curricula, we would not stand in their way, but I am sure that this will not happen. We are on the side of the parents and the children and we have recently managed somehow to resolve the problem of elementary schoolchildren in Dragas. Children in first through fourth grade have been put in dual classes in villages in the Dragas area, while older children have kind of consultative classes held in school corridors," Stojcetovic says.

Source: Politika website, Belgrade, in Serbian 5 Dec 08
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