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V. Cretu

University of Bucharest (ROMANIA)
When referring to the religious education in Europe, it is obvious that we cannot identify a role model, but several models, which are deeply rooted in the culture, history and spirituality of every European nation. Each of these models, however, bears the stamp of the specific relationship that exists between State and Church in a given national context.

The Orthodox Church has been playing a very important role throughout the Romanian history, as reflected, in general terms, in the organization of the Study of Religion (SR) in Romanian public schools. As a matter of fact, up until 1864, the Church was responsible for running the entire educational system. The Law of Public Education that entered into force that year preserved a central place for religious education at both primary and secondary level. This tradition was brutally interrupted in 1948 by the communist authorities, which removed SR from all public schools, but quickly reinstated in 1990, after the fall of the communist regime.

SR is presently a compulsory discipline and a part of the common curriculum at all pre-university levels of education (from the first to the twelfth grade). It is allotted one weekly hour. Upon written request by the parents or by the student, if he or she is over 18 years old, an exemption to taking part in these classes is being granted. No alternative discipline is foreseen instead.

Besides the Romanian Orthodox Church, all the other 17 legally recognized religious communities have the right to organize classes of Religion in the public schools, irrespective of the number of students belonging to them in a particular school.

The religious communities are also in charge with establishing the syllabuses, which are then to be approved by the Ministry of Education. Given the confessional organization, these syllabuses are focused mainly on the respective religious tradition. Nevertheless, there is always an amount of time allotted to discuss about other confessions and religions. The textbooks are prepared by the communities, but printed at the expense of the State.

At all levels, the class of Religion is taught only by graduates in theological studies at least at bachelor level, all of whom are trained in special departments of the faculties of theology within the State universities. They are hired and paid by the State, but only upon, and as long as they hold, a written approval by the religious community they belong to.