Some 10 per cent of Slovakia's population are of Roma ethnicity - most are illiterate and live in poverty in the far east of the country.
To combat the problem, the country's government has suggested a radical proposal - that Roma children be sent to boarding schools in an attempt to integrate them into Slovak society.
The plan has already been condemned as illegal by human rights groups and the European union. Yet many in Slovakia see it as an essential measure to improve Roma standards of life.
Al Jazeera's Laurence Lee reports from Rankovce.
April 26 2010