Dissertation: Religious freedom in the multicultural school
Freedom of religion consists positive freedom of an individual which is in consistent with his/her own beliefs and negative freedom of not practicing religion against his/her own conscience. According to European Court of Human Rights a pupil and his/her supporter has the right not to reveal his/her conviction or belief.
– The core of freedom of religion, the Internal freedom of thought, freedom to choose one’s own view, may not be insulted or restricted, Hokkanen explains.
The restrictions of freedom of religion at school are addressed to the public practicing of religion and the main grounds are the rights of the others and public order.
The aim of the study was also to propose how to develop teaching of views/religions. Non-denominational teaching of one’s own religion is based on schools pedagogical starting points and is clearly separated from practicing religion.
– Religious practice means taking part to the cult. Anyhow normal school celebrations which may include a single hymn are aloud as part of Finnish culture. Religious symbols may not cause oppressive condition to the pupils.
The national curriculum should promote multiculturality and plurality and be neutral and equal in regard to the views/religions. When developing teaching of the ethics/religions it is necessary to change the Basic Education Act Section 13 in the way that belonging to any religious community does not prevent the possibility to choose ethics in school.
The comparison part of Hokkanen’s study indicates that international tendency has been to offer inclusive subject, which is common or general and non-denominational and open to everybody.
The public examination of Pete Hokkanen’s doctoral dissertation ”Uskonnonvapaus monikulttuuristuvassa koulussa” is on Thursday 16th October at 12 o’clock at auditorium Kurtén (Tervahovi). Professor Pentti Arajärvi from the University of Helsinki will act as an opponent and professor Eija Mäkinen as a custos.