Estonian church leader: Religious studies should be made part of school curriculum

  • 2021-12-28
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN – Archbishop Urmas Viilma, head of the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church, said on a webcast of Postimees on Monday that Estonia needs to introduce education on matters of religion in the curriculum of general education schools.

"Estonians are no more non-religious or alien to religion than any other nation, but Estonians lack the foundation that is provided by education in religious matters, and it is this foundation that a person's religious world view is usually built onto," he said.

The archbishop said that if we lack basic religious education in our schools and religious illiteracy is rampant, then people have no way of identifying themselves.

"Lack of knowledge is a big problem in Estonia," he said.

Viilma expressed regret that we do not have an organized education in religions that can be accessed by all students.

"Yes, students have a certain right to receive it, but it is not always known how to realize it, and much also depends on the school," he said.

"The introduction of education on matters of religion is not inventing the wheel, as such thing exists in schools in all other European countries. We do love to compare ourselves to other countries, especially those of Western Europe and the Nordic countries, but on this subject all our governments turn a blind eye," Viilma said on the webcast of Postimees.

According to the head of the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church, Estonians' lukewarm attitude towards religion has begun to change because people have started to think more about religious issues.