Religious education should be omitted from the programme of public schools, Civic Education should be a mandatory subject

Centre for Civic Education (CCE), Human Rights Action (HRA) and ANIMA – Centre for Women’s and Peace Education vigorously oppose the proposal to introduce religious education in the formal education system and propose introduction of Civic Education as a mandatory subject in primary and secondary schools. We call on the Government, headed by Prime Minister Zdravko Krivokapić, to work on the improvement of the existing education system on the basis of the scientific method and civic values as prescribed by the Constitution and which are common to all people and children in Montenegro.

The CCE reacted after the media publicise an unofficial text of the Fundamental Agreement between the Government of Montenegro and the Serbian Orthodox Church (SOC), which indicated that Orthodox religious education in public schools will be regulated by a special agreement between the contracting parties. This was followed by the statement of the Metropolitan of the SOC in Montenegro, Joanikije, that his obligation and the obligation of the church will be to advocate for the introduction of religious education in schools. »

Fundamental agreement should not lead to the harmful fundamental reforms of the education system

Centre for Civic Education (CCE) expresses concern due to the increasing inappropriate pressure on the institutions of the education system, as well as their announcements, which have recently been expressed several times through the activities of various socio-political structures. Such pressures do not contribute to the preservation of the autonomy and secular character of education, but directly challenge the efforts of democratisation of Montenegrin society.

Cases of religious activity in schools have been a focus of public attention, and the CCE also pointed out some of them to the competent authorities. Some of these cases resulted in the determination of the misuse of school and school resources for religious activity, which is contrary to the provisions of the Law. However, despite the established responsibility, the competent Ministry has not decided to take appropriate sanctions, and thus adequately treat such cases, but also prevent similar ones. »

Democracy is difficult to be learned and build in Montenegro

On the occasion of 15 September – The International Day of Democracy, Centre for Civic Education (CCE) warns to alarmingly deep polarization of the society, which brings into question the already weak democratic standards and practices in the country.

In August 2020, Montenegrin citizens used their opportunity to change the previous authorities in the elections. In those elections, the largest number of citizens since gaining independence was registered at the polls. Democracy means that citizens participate actively in politics and hold their governments accountable in the elections.

CCE points out that a year after the parliamentary elections there are no expected improvements in the establishment of key reform and democratic standards, and that society is going toward radicalization, while political decision-makers are guided by particular interests. In the relevant international reports, Montenegro is also classified in the category of transitional or “hybrid regimes”, which represents a regression in the comparison to the previous period when it was described as a partly consolidated democracy. »