Karnataka move to inspect syllabus of Christian schools likely to stir controversy

Bengaluru: The Karnataka education department’s direction to Block Education Officers to inspect the syllabus of all Christian schools in the state over making reading of Bible compulsory is likely to stir a controversy.

Education Minister B.C. Nagesh had given the directions after the case of the Clarence High School allegedly making reading of the Bible compulsory came out.

The exercise is likely to be opposed by progressive thinkers and the Opposition Congress party. Nagesh has stated that no school in the state can preach religion, including minority institutions. If any institute has made preaching of religion compulsory, it is against the Karnataka Education Act.

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He has warned that if any violation is found in the syllabus strict legal action will be initiated against the schools. There is no room for schools teaching central syllabus to include religious matters, he added.

Considering the sensitivity of the issue and the present situation in the state, sources in the education department said that the exercise is bound to take a communal turn.

Most of the Christian schools have included the Christian value system as part of the curriculum. These inclusions have been made and taught to children since decades. However, going strictly by the law it will be against the rules, sources said.

Nagesh had stated that there is information that schools run by Christian managements are not giving admissions to children refusing to read the Bible. The Opposition leaders who make a hue and cry over the issue of a lesson on Tipu Sultan, hijab are turning a blind eye to this issue, he added.

The ruling BJP alleged to be pursuing aggressive Hindutva, has taken another step in this direction with regard to teaching of the Bible in Christian schools. The issue is all set to snowball into a major controversy in the coming days, said sources in the education ministry.

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