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Autonomy of school premises is designed in a way that confessional activity in public kindergartens and schools is not allowed (Organisation and Financing of Education Act, Article 72; CC: U-I-68/98), but no penalties in case of violations of this provision are provided. Confessional activity is defined as catechesis or confessional teaching of religion with the goal of introduction into practising of a particular religion, as courses where a religious community decides on the content, textbooks, teacher education and adequacy of individual teachers for teaching, and as organised religious ceremonies. Catechesis or confessional teaching of religion is exceptionally allowed outside instruction or working hours of public schools by the competent minister if there is no other suitable venue in the local community for such an activity. These exceptions are relatively many. Occasional blessings of new school premises (performed by the Catholic Church and organised by local authorities) are raising public debates. Rejection of an application of a minor religious community for blessing an elementary school premises and public premises does not constitute an act of discrimination (Advocate of the Principle of Equality, 2020).

Public schools and kindergartens are not obliged to offer meals, made according to religious or philosophical beliefs of their pupils or their parents (for example vegetarian meals or meals without pork). Every school has to offer a forenoon light meal, all other meals (breakfast, lunch, and afternoon light meal) are optional and considered as part of the secondary services of every individual school, though in practice these meals are offered as a rule. Diets founded in the medical conditions of pupils are taken into consideration within the frame of these secondary services, when the school is able to accommodate (School Nutrition Act, Article 4), but in practice they are granted as a rule. In this context, weighting the needs of pupils and the material and human resources of schools, other requirements regarding diets may be met, depending on the decision of each school. Lunches with fish instead of meat according to the Catholic calendar are widely practised, vegetarian and Muslim diets are not prevalent. The Advocate of the Principle of Equality has identified a case of indirect discrimination (2020) in a situation, where a child in kindergarten has not been nourished properly because the agreed removal of pork in his meals had not been replaced with an alternative nutrition. The legal institute of reasonable adjustment is not formally introduced.

See also Blaž Ivanc, « Religion in public education – Slovenia » in Gerhard Robbers (Hrsg.), Religion in Public Education – La religion dans l’éducation publique, European Consortium for Church and State Research, Trier, 2011, 455-472.

D 22 June 2021    AGregor Lesjak

CNRS Unistra Dres Gsrl

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