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Religion Classes To Be A Must In Kazakh Schools


The Kazakh courses would be taught by specially trained teachers and will cover "all religions and their history."

The Kazakh courses would be taught by specially trained teachers and will cover "all religions and their history."

ALMATY (Reuters) -- Religion will be a compulsory subject in Kazakh schools starting from this year, the Central Asian state's Science and Education Ministry has said.

School courses on religion are a thorny issue in the former Soviet Union, where atheism was a state ideology and many people oppose what they see as the growing influence of the clergy.

Neighboring Russia announced a pilot project last month where students will be given a choice between classes in their own religion, a comparative course on religion or secular classes on ethics.

"The religion course, previously voluntary, will become compulsory from this year on for all school students," a ministry spokeswoman quoted its senior official, Serik Irsalievas, as saying.

"We think that the basics of religious tolerance should be formed at a young age."

The courses would be taught by specially trained teachers and will cover "all religions and their history," the spokeswoman said.

"This is not aimed at raising [religious] fanatics," she said.

Mostly Muslim Kazakhstan has a large Christian minority, mostly belonging to the Russian Orthodox Church.
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