8.3.3 Intercultural education
The educational process, as well as intercultural education, is administered by the Ministry of Education and educational policy making bodies. The principal objectives of the intercultural education programmes are focused on intercultural / interethnic understanding and equality, religious tolerance and multilingualism, etc.
Religious values are a topical issue, especially religious education that will be introduced for the first time in elementary schools in 2008. However, religious education will be voluntary and children can choose between two subjects: religious education or history of religion. It will be the first time since the Second World War that religious education will be part of the education process. The religious communities (Orthodox, Islamic etc.) were in favour of this initiative. There was (and still is) a kind of public debate about this development, regarding the way it should be organised, who should be allowed to teach etc. Religious symbols were also a relevant issue, but only few years ago. The main effect of such issues has been a growing awareness of the need for ICD.
On the other hand, after the introduction of religious education in elementary schools in 2008, the Constitutional Court in 2009, acting on a citizen's submission, ruled against religious education in elementary schools. So the Ministry of Education and Science has to find other means / way for this matter in the future.
For more information, see our Intercultural Dialogue section.