Serbian Ministry of Education will act in accordance with its competencies if there is evidence that some school principals have not been treating religious education in schools appropriately.
This is the Ministry’s response to the Serbian Orthodox Church Patriarch Porfirije, who said on Monday on his Facebook profile that principals of several elementary and high schools in Serbia have been “actively discouraging and preventing students and parents from opting for religious education.”
The Patriarch expressed great disappointment at such information and said he will consult with archbishops and representatives of other churches and religious communities on whether they should publicly announce the names of these school principals, as well as the names of schools “that discriminate against their students in this way.”
In its response to Patriarch’s accusations, the Ministry of Education has said that the Serbian educational system provides for and offers catechism classes and civics classes as two optional subjects and that both have the same status.
The Ministry also reminds that students and parents have the right to choose one of these two school subjects and that that decision is not made by school principals or school employees. “We believe it is important that students have the right to know the true values that promote a sense of coexistence, tolerance, respect, cooperation and love, and our goal is to provide the best possible teaching and equal conditions for all children,” the Ministry added.
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