Moldovan premier participates in conference on religion in schools
Prime Minister Vlad Filat participated in the conference "Teaching religion in schools - as factor to consolidate society," the government's communications and press relations department has said.
The conference was held at the headquarters of the Chisinau-based National Philharmonic, and was opened by an introductory speech by Metropolitan of Chisinau and All Moldova, Most Right Reverend Vladimir.
Metropolitan Vladimir said that, for the first time after 20 years of Moldova's independence, the need to teach religion in school started being discussed in society.
The Metropolitan stressed that, although the government's decision on teaching religion in schools as an optional subject starting from 1 September 2010 was regarded very skeptically by the Metropolitan See of Moldova, now it is necessary that the church involves more actively in the teaching of religion, as well in the elaboration of textbooks.
Most Right Reverend Vladimir praised the cabinet's openness to dialogue on the modernization of the process of teaching religion in schools. "The most difficult thing is to make the first step, after which other horizons and cooperation bridges will open," the Metropolitan emphasized.
In his speech, Prime Minister Vlad Filat pointed out the importance to hold the conference. He said that communication allows pointing out the good things that have been done, as well as certain problems which are to be removed to achieve the set goals.
Vlad Filat said that the Moldovan society has been kept in a state of division on different grounds.
"In my tenure of prime minister, I want to say that now Moldova needs unity as never before. The church has an important role in the fulfillment of this goal," Vlad Filat stressed. He specified that the task of those who govern is to create the necessary conditions to meet this objective.
"While taking into account my experience of parent, I am sure that it is necessary to teach religion in schools, but this should be optional," the prime minister said.
Vlad Filat said that, under the government decision, the necessary normative framework for teaching religion in schools was created.
The prime minister said that religion is presently being taught in 691 education institutions from Moldova. As many as 74,656 pupils from the first to the ninth forms study religion, which accounts for 23.3 per cent of all the Moldovan pupils. The subject is being taught by 791 people, of whom 516 teachers, and the others are church employees; of these 40 per cent are theology graduates.
The prime minister said that, having this beginning and a framework in which communication is possible, he is sure that solutions will be found in the long run.
"We have the opportunity to train good professionals as a result of a good education process. But in a well-established education system and now that religion is taught in schools, we have possibility to educate not only good professionals, but also people of a high moral value," Vlad Filat said.
The participants in the conference made proposals aimed at fostering cooperation between the state and the church, in order to improve the process of teaching religion in schools.Moldpres