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Secular state education and denominational institutions

According to Article 3 of the Education Law of the Russian Federation of 29 December 2012, no. 273-FZ, the secular nature of teaching in state and local schools is one of the fundamental principles of state policy and of legal regulation in the education domain.

According to Article 5 §§ 1-2 of the 1997 Law on Freedom of Conscience and Religious Associations, everyone is entitled to the religious education of their choice, individually or collectively. Educating and training children is undertaken by parents or guardians, taking into account a child’s right to freedom of conscience.
Article 5 § 3 of the 1997 Law provides for religious organisations to create educational institutions in accordance with their statutes and the laws of the Russian Federation. Private religious schools, gymnasium schools and high schools have been established as a result of this legislative provision. Pupils receive compulsory general education there, as well as religious instruction. Their total number is small: there are about 200 private schools and Orthodox gymnasium schools.
Central religious organisations have the exclusive right to create denominational education institutions to train ministers of the faith and other religious personnel (Article 19 of the 1997 Law, as amended in 2013). Formerly, the term used in the law was “professional religious educational establishments”). Organisations for spiritual education must be registered as religious organisations and receive state authorisation for their educational activity.

Federal Law no. 14-FZ of 28 February 2008 supplemented Article 19 of the 1997 Law, stating that it is possible to arrange the teaching of secular subjects within the curricula of denominational educational institutes. As a result, students in seminaries will be able to obtain two degrees: the diploma in higher religious education, which only has value within the Church, and a secular diploma in law, engineering, history etc. (also see the article below “Theology in Higher Education”).

D 18 September 2014    AMikhaïl Chakhov

CNRS Unistra Dres Gsrl

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