Education ministry not obliged to include ‘development of religious conscience’ in mission, court says

Education ministry not obliged to include ‘development of religious conscience’ in mission, court says

Greece's highest administrative court ruled that the Education and Religion Ministry does not violate the constitution by no longer including in its mission statement "developing a student's religious conscience."

The Council of State (CoS) said the ministry, which is responsible for the curriculum at Greek schools, is within its rights to remove the phrase from its mission plan.

The phrase had been removed by presidential decree in 2018 during the previous SYRIZA administration by then education minister Costas Gavroglou.

The court rejected an appeal for its annulment by the Church of Greece, the Metropolis of Piraeus and Piraeus’ metropolitan bishop Seraphim, as well as religious groups.

In justifying its decision, the court said that the ministry's mission was "the development and upgrade of education for the ethical, spiritual and physical training of Greeks, the development of a national conscience, the protection of the freedom of religious conscience and worship, and the development of free, active and critically thinking citizens, etc., without the explicit mention of developing a religious conscience."

Just as career training or citizenship training is not mentioned explicitly does not mean that education violates the constitution or no longer cares for them, the court said.

The Council of State’s plenum was headed by Katerina Sakellaropoulou, before she was elected President of the Republic last month, while Marlena Tripolitsiotis acted as rapporteur.

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