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    MINISTRY OF EDUCATION REFUTES REPORTS ON INTRODUCTION OF TEACHING RELIGION IN SCHOOLS

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    MOSCOW, FEBRUARY 11, 2004. (RIA NOVOSTI). The Ministry of Education did not introduce the teaching of any religious confession in schools, says the ministry's report RIA Novosti received on Wednesday.

    The press service clarified that this report was spread because of appearing media information about a new viewpoint of the ministry in respect to the course "Foundations of the Orthodox Culture." "The stand of the education ministry on this issue remains unchanged," the press service stressed. No decisions were taken on the obligatory introduction in Russian schools of the course connected with the teaching of any confession. More than that, in compliance with the effective legislation, the decision to introduce such course as "The Foundations of the Orthodox Culture" can be made only by the general education institution itself." The teaching of such a course, specified the ministry, is possible only on the elective basis, that is if students want it and their parents agree.

    "At the same time, the ministry of education believes it is one of its tasks to make it possible for all those who wish to study the foundations of the Orthodox culture which for many years was inaccessible for many generations of Russian citizens," the document says. At the present time the ministry of education together with the Russian Academy of Sciences and the Commission on Religious Affairs under the Russian government organized a competition for creating a training appliance for general educational schools called "History and Culture of the Main World Religions."

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