Churches will obtain right to establish educational institutions
The Committee on Science and Education decided to support Bill No.1447 on the establishment of national standard education institutions by religious organizations.
The lively discussion on this matter took place during a meeting of March 18, 2015, the Institute of Religious Freedom reports.
The initiators of the Bill were MPs PavloUnguryan, Lilia Hrynevych and Victor Yelenskyy (Popular Front fraction).
The law draftsmen propose to equalize religious organizations in rights with the public, charitable and other organizations and individuals who have the right to establish private schools. They cite the extensive experience of church schools in the developed countries such as the UK, Germany, France, USA, Belgium, and Poland.
"Previously theParliament ignored this world experience because of theperceptionof Lenin’santagonistic principle of separation of church and state when religious organizations were oustedfrompublic life. So far the principle of equality and non-discrimination has been ignored, as only the right of churches to establish educational institutions remains restricted,” said co-author of the initiativeVictor Yelenskyy.
In response, the First Deputy Minister of Education and Science of Ukraine Inna Sovsun said: “The Ministry of Education adheres to Lenin's position on the separation of church and state.”
She said religious organizations have the right to establish religious schools to train priests, and as for the rest, it is necessary to observe the constitutional principle of "separation of church and learning process." The official Ministry of Education suggested that high quality education in church schools in Western countries is related only to the fact that they are the oldest, and at the time of their creation there had been no other options for establishing educational institutions.
Among the threats that the granting of right to churches to found schools is fraught with, Inna Sovsunnoted“the issue of content of learning and how religious schools will be able to provide adequate teaching of the evolution theory, and how it will coincide with religious teachings, which will also be included in the educational program.”
Supporting Bill No. 1447, Executive Director of the Institute for Religious Freedom Maksym Vasin said that the right of parents to raise a child according to their own religious or philosophical beliefs is enshrined in international treaties ratified by Ukraine. The expert also gave the example of Slovakia, where the right of churches to establish schools was restored only in 1990, but since then they have become the most successful in the country.
Committee members also raised the issue of abuse on the part of the so-called sects and problems of politicization of some religious organizations.
UGCC priest Roman Nebozhuk replied that abuse can occur in different schools founded by whomsoever and the state should prevent religious hatred or violation of children's rights in any and all schoolsthrough its regulatory authorities.
As a result, the Committee on Science and Education decided to support the bill as a basis in the first reading with the aim of further improvement.
“Educational institutions founded by religious organizations will be licensed and shall comply with national standards to ensure the scientific nature of education. The issues of interaction of church and state are not excluded by the provisions of the Constitution of Ukraine,” saidCommittee’s chairman LiliaHrynevich.