Orthodox Church revives plans for teaching religion in all grades


RIA Novosti, 29 November 2016


The new elective school course "Orthodox Culture" is a continuation of the subject "Foundations of Orthodox Culture" now being taught in the fourth grade. It already has received the approval of representatives of all traditional religions of Russia, Deacon German Demidov, the head of the section of Foundations of Orthodox Culture of the synod's Department of Religious Education and Catechesis and one of the developers of the curriculum, told RIA Novosti.


In the Russian Academy of Education earlier on Tuesday, RIA Novosti was told that the Federal Academic and Methodology Association for General Education received a draft of a curriculum for the class "Foundations of Orthodox Culture," which, as was noted in the academy, "is not required and is one of the classes selected by participants in the educational process."


Demidov said that there exists in the federal educational standards a subject area called "Foundations of the spiritual and moral culture of the peoples of Russia," for which thus far "contents have not been spelled out."


"For this subject area, according to documents of the Ministry of Education, a logical continuation of the course Foundations of Religious Cultures and Secular Ethics is being proposed. That is, a laying out of the very same modules that are devoted to the traditional religious cultures, on the option of pupils or their legal guardians," Demidov said.


In the required academic curriculum, the Foundations of Orthodox Culture module now exists as one of the modules of the Foundations of Religious Cultures and Secular Ethics course, designed for pupils of the fourth grade. The course contains six modules: Foundations of Secular Ethics, Foundations of Orthodox Culture, Foundation of Muslim Culture, Foundations of Buddhist Culture, Foundations of Jewish Culture, and Foundations of World Religious Cultures.


As Demidov described, the new curriculum on Orthodox culture was prepared by the Federal Academic and Methodology Association, which includes representatives of all traditional religions of the Russian federation. "When we prepared this curriculum, before it was announced it was preliminarily sent to representatives of all traditional religious organizations, both Buddhists and representatives of Islam and of Judaism. And this curriculum was discussed fully, criticized, and supplemented, and so far as I understand our colleagues they all were concerned that the subjects and modules connected with the study of traditional religious cultures be properly developed and represented in the educational space," Demidov noted.


He said that this was being done so that, among other things, "there would not be any surrogates that would periodically be introduced into the educational space, from one side or another, under the guise of religious culture or some kind of spiritual and moral education."


"This is a model educational curriculum and for each grade sample contents of study are spelled out. This is a kind of alternative, and in this possibility of an alternative, it seems to me, there is real freedom. We are not talking about any kind of imposition nor any kind of resolutions and directives," the news agency's source added. (tr. by PDS, posted 30 November 2016)

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