We read with interest in “Novosti” the statement of an unnamed person from the Ministry of Education that it was initiated through meetings at the request of the patriarch to give religious education the status of a regular elective subject, and that the consequences of such a decision for other elective subjects and legal framework must be considered.
-At the same time, it was stated that such important things cannot be changed overnight, as well as that a wider commission would be formed to deal exclusively with this issue … If we did not trust the good intentions of the Ministry of Education, we would conclude that the old bureaucratic ploy: when you don’t want to do something – you form a commission.
This is written in a letter sent to our editorial office by the Vicar Bishop of Toplica Jerotej, President of the Committee for Religious Education of the Archbishopric of Belgrade and Karlovac, on the occasion of an article published in “Novosti” entitled “Commission on Veronuci”, in which the Ministry of Education responded to Patriarch Porfirio traditional churches to introduce religious education as a compulsory subject in schools.
The letter further states:
– Although we are convinced that there are no tricks: when you do not want to do something, you form a commission, we must state that such a serious approach did not exist when the same body decided to reduce religious education from an elective subject to a curriculum. This was done overnight, without any serious consideration, without any consultation, not even formal, written notification of churches and religious communities. Even less was thought, or perhaps was, about the consequences.
And the consequences, Bishop Jerotej emphasizes, are that religious education is usually excluded from the regular class schedule and is performed as a pre-class or as a seventh or eighth class, and we would not be surprised if the intention was that religious instruction did not exist in the school schedule.
– From time to time, we are obliged to remind all competent state bodies that the issue of teaching religious education is not a matter of someone’s good will – this bishop states. – According to the democratic and the principles of the rule of law, which we should strive for in this regard as well, it is about restitution, because religious education was not abolished by some democratic procedure, law enforcement, but was liquidated from school programs in Serbia at the same time as tens of thousands of people. among whom were about a hundred Orthodox catechists, as well as other religious teachers.
The letter draws attention to the confusion created by such information because as a body of the Government of the Republic of Serbia (Government, not a single ministry), there is a Commission for Religious Instruction in Schools whose task is to monitor the organization and implementation of religious instruction in school.
– In terms of composition, manner of work and decision-making, this Commission is probably one of the most professional, and certainly the most democratic body in the country, and as such it is ready to help the competent services of the Ministry of Education clarify all issues that cause doubts – Bishop Jerotej of Toplica.
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