MANGALURU: Primary and Secondary Education Minister BC Nagesh on Wednesday raised an objection against Christian educational institutions holding catechism classes for students, saying it is a violation of the law on education in Karnataka. The statement is likely to spark a row as many Christian schools hold catechism classes for Christian students in values education venues.
Speaking to reporters after laying the foundation stone for a new Pre-University College building at Hampankatta in Mangaluru, Nagesh said no religious practice or religious text could be allowed in the schools. “It’s another matter if you tell them (students) about Jesus Christ like we do about Swami Vivekananda. But you can’t allow religious practices in schools. The Bible and Quran are religious books” , did he declare.
Asked whether the Bhagavad Gita is allowed to be taught in schools, the minister replied emphatically that the Bhagavad Gita is not a religious text. “It teaches values to adopt in one’s life whereas here children are asked to follow Christ saying that he would protect them, etc. Therefore, comparing the Bhagavad Gita with other religious books is not just because it’s not a religious text,” he said.
Referring to Clarence High School in Bangalore which allegedly insisted students bring Bibles with them to school, the minister said he had ordered department officials to review the curriculum of Christian institutions in the state. “We have received complaints that a few Christian educational institutions are forcing students to study the Bible and conduct examinations on it. I have ordered BEOs to check. Schools that are registered under the Bible Act education in Karnataka must follow the rules laid down by it, whether it is a minority institution or other schools.According to the law, no religious texts can be taught in schools.
To a question, he said that minority institutions have freedom in administrative matters, but not in terms of curriculum or curriculum.