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States and Regions
RELIGIOUS EDUCATION IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS
Snezana Joksimovic, Slavica Maksic, Dragan Janjetovic, Aleksandra Petrovic, Olivera Jevtic
In the previous years in Serbian society was often raised a question about introduction of religious education in schools whereas the opinions and expectations of pupils them-selves and of their parents were hardly taken into consideration. Therefore in 2001 the Institute for Educational Research conducted an investigation aiming to determine attitudes of pupils, students and parents towards introduction of religious instruction in schools and towards religious education in general. The results of the survey of pupils and students from Belgrade show that most young people assume positive attitude towards introduction of religious instruction in schools but many of them advocate teaching this subject as optional. The principal reasons for introduction of religious instruction given by the young are return to traditional values and strengthening of national identity. The survey of schoolchildrens' parents was conducted in Belgrade, Subotica and Novi Pazar so that the sample consisted of inhabitants of multiconfessional areas as well as of adherents to various different confessions. The outcomes show that many parents take positive attitude towards introduction of religious instruction in schools but they are mostly in favour of religious instruction as optional subject.According to the inquired parents the main reasons for introduction of religious instruction are obtaining knowledge about one's own religion in order to cherish tradition and foster national identity, culture and general education as well as the contribution of this subject to ethical education. The collected data show that young people and their parents have great expectations from religious instruction which binds designers and educators of this subject to come up to their expectations and to avoid producing an effect adverse to the planned and desired one.