The fact that over 90 per cent of pupils have signed up for religion classes, despite “many efforts made by the schools and humiliating difficulties for the parents,” has the value of a referendum and calls the family, the school and the church to dialogue and cooperation for all-encompassing education, the Romanian Patriarchy informs.
“After some opponents of the religion class obtained decision 669/12 November 2014 from the Romanian Constitutional Court, which conditions the pupils’ attendance of religion classes on the existence of a written request from their parents, legal guardians or from themselves if they are of age, under the pretext of exercising (or verifying) the freedom of conscience and of religious beliefs, the positive response from the overwhelming majority of parents and children of age was massive and dignified, expressing the importance of religion in the life of the Romanian people. A majority of over 90 per cent of students enrolled in public schools that have religion in their curriculum have chosen to sign up for this discipline despite the very brief sign-up period (almost three weeks) and of the many efforts made by schools and humiliating difficulties for parents. This result has the value of a referendum and calls the Family, the School and the Church to dialogue, joint responsibility and cooperation in order to promote an all-encompassing education that brings together spiritual education and the pupils’ scientific education,” the Patriarchy shows in a communiqué quoted by Mediafax.
“We appreciate the fact that the Education Ministry offers the possibility of continuing the sign-up process”
The leadership of the Romanian Orthodox Church also states that the recent results seen in the sign-up process “confirm and surpass previous sociological researches conducted by the Education Sciences Institute according to which over 85 per cent of the parents, students and teachers want to study religion in school.”
“We appreciate the fact that the Education Ministry offers the possibility of continuing the sign-up process especially since there are many parents working abroad whose underage children have no legal guardian and, consequently, did not manage to file requests for the religion class. The Romanian Patriarchy thanks the parents, pupils, the other religious denominations, the public institutions and all public personalities that support the presence of religion in school,” the Patriarchy’s communiqué adds. The institution also shows that the public debate on religion classes have brought to the forefront the issue of the teachers and textbooks of this discipline.
“In this sense, the Romanian Orthodox Church will intensify its cooperation with the Education and Scientific Research Ministry, with the “Parents for Religion Classes” Association, and with all those constantly interested in raising the quality of religious education by improving curricula, textbooks, auxiliary materials and the professional level of religion teachers from a didactic and spiritual point of view,” the Romanian Patriarchy’s communiqué points out.
The Patriarchy’s communiqué follows the results registered by the Education Ministry in what concerns the number of pupils that filed request in order to attend religion classes. Thus, over 90 per cent of pupils have signed up for religion classes, 2,140,238 requests for the study of this discipline being registered. At the same time, 135,049 of the 144,358 requests filed for the preparatory class (93.55 per cent) opted for the study of religion.
The filing of requests was necessary after the Constitutional Court decided on 12 November 2014 that Article 18, Paragraph 2, Line I of the National Education Law is unconstitutional. The article stipulated that the pupils who did not want to attend religion classes had to file requests in this sense.