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The decisions of former Minister of Education Kostas Gavroglu, which set curricula for religious education both in elementary and secondary education, were declared unconstitutional and opposite to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) by the Plenary of the Council of State.
Recall that at the same time, present Minister of Education and Religious Affairs Niki Kerameous signed ministerial decisions to remove religion and citizenship from school diplomas, while the decisions are expected to be published in the Government Gazette.
In particular, in relation to religious education, the Plenary of the Council of State held, for the most part, that the development of Orthodox Christian consciousness should be sought and that this lesson was addressed exclusively to Orthodox Christians.
According to the CoS, heterodox pupils, pupils of other religions or atheists have the right to be fully exempt from the lesson by submitting a relevant statement, which could only be made on the basis of religious consciousness.
The State must, provided that a sufficient number of pupils is discharged, provide for the teaching of an equitable lesson in order to prevent the risk of “free time”.
In the present case, however, the curricula at issue, as is clear from their aims and content, do not aim to develop the religious consciousness of Orthodox students. The primary and secondary education programs do not contain comprehensive -and distinct from other doctrines and religions-teaching of the dogmas, morals and traditions of the Orthodox Church, and the high school curriculum is disconnected from that teaching.
On the contrary, particular emphasis is placed either on the presentation of elements in common with the teaching of other doctrines and religions (elementary-secondary school) or on the teaching of various moral and social issues, which are either primarily subject to other lessons (elementary-secondary school) or irrelevant and even opposite to the Orthodox Christian teaching (high school).
Shortly after the decision of the Council of State, the Ministry of Education announced that it would examine the decisions taken by the Council of State “in order to review the relevant regulatory framework by taking appropriate action to reform the content of the religious education and amending the declaration of exemption therefrom.”
To ensure the comparability of the relevant arrangements with constitutional requirements must be the guiding rule, clarified the ministry.