The Greek Ministry of Education said Friday it will reexamine the way religion is taught in schools following a ruling by the Council of State that deemed as unconstitutional reforms introduced by the previous administration in 2017.
The ministry said it will then take “appropriate action to reform the curriculum” of the course and to amend the statement of exemption. “Our principle is to ensure that the relevant provisions are in line with constitutional requirements.”
In its ruling, the country's highest administrative court deemed that the reforms by the SYRIZA government relating to the teaching of religion in primary and secondary schools violated not only the Greek constitution but also European human rights treaties.
In its reasoning, the court said that religious affairs classes "should seek to develop the Orthodox Christian conscience and that this lesson should be directed exclusively at Orthodox Christian pupils."
Pupils who have other faiths or are atheist should have the right not to follow those classes and should not be obliged to do so, the ruling said, adding that the pupils in question can submit a written request to be excused. In the event that a sufficient number of pupils forgo those classes, the state is obliged to hold a different class for them during that time slot, it said.
In a separate ruling, the court found that the practice of Greek schools publishing the religious faith and nationality of pupils on school certificates is also unconstitutional.