Croatian Constitutional Court Abolishes Health (Sex) Education Curriculum

Croatian Constitutional Court  Photo:

Croatian Constitutional Court Photo:

As I have written in my previous posts (see links at end of this article) the sex education curriculum imposed in Croatia early this year saw a nation bitterly divided on issues covered in the curriculum; it saw the Croatian TV journalist Karolina Vidovic Kristo lose her TV show “Picture of Croatia” and suspended from duties because she offered the public information that the new sex education curriculum could contain aspects tied to research of Alfred Kinsey and pedophiles and saw dr Judith Reisman publicly ridiculed and vilified by certain pro-government persons during her visit to Croatia in support of journalist Karolina Vidovic Kristo.

What a great day for Croatia: the whole government imposed curriculum on sex and health education has been booted out of schools! A great lesson for the government and politicians that one cannot impose and keep imposing upon people that which goes against the grain and morality of the people, of the parents of children who are to be educated. brings the following news:

The Croatian Constitutional Court on Wednesday 22 May abolished the Health Education Curriculum, which took effect in February, and ordered that until the adoption of a new curriculum Health Education be taught according to the curriculum that had been in force before the start of this school year.

The court assessed the constitutionality of the curriculum at the request of the civil society organisations Grozd and Reforma, the HSP 1861 party and private citizens who sought the revocation of Education Minister Zeljko Jovanovic’s decision to introduce the curriculum.

Even though only the curriculum’s Module 4, which deals with sexual and gender equality and sexually responsible behaviour, was disputed, the Constitutional Court decided to abolish the entire curriculum because the disputed points related to the entire document.

“In this case, the government has not fulfilled its procedural constitutional obligation to align the Health Education Curriculum in state schools with constitutional law and parental freedom to choose education for their children,” Judge Mato Arlovic said.
The applicants claimed that the curriculum was in violation of the Constitution, the Education Act, the Family Act and international conventions such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

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  1. and we’re still bitterly divided. This curriculum was thrown out not because of links to Kinsey, not because of the thinly veiled hints about paedophiles, this was action brought about by the back door influence of the church and it’s right wing ultra conservatives who, as in every country, think they know best for the rest of us. Yet another example of Croatian democracy.
    I hope the replacement bill is passed in short time and further ignores the church and erodes to an even greater extent their mafia like grip on our society. Then we can start thinking about growing up in terms of nationhood.

    • Pavao, I fear you are correct, as the same thing happens here in the US, with such fights as wanting to teach Creationism along side evolution in science classes. In a true, living, breathing democracy, there is a separation of Church and State.

      The whole Kinsey/Reisman thing is a red herring distracting from the real issue… a right wing policy and politics of fear, hatred, and prejudice.

      As the great Martin Luther King Jr. said “the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends towards justice”.

    • Oh, right like the left-wing idiots don’t think THEY know what’s best for people. Like they don’t try to impose their beliefs and their ridicule of conservative values upon society. If the church has a mafia-like grip on people I HATE to think of what the government’s grip on people is – deadlier than any mafia put together, surely. As if the government and their left-wing idiocy doesn’t promote hatred, prejudice and fear. Come on, a TV show was suspended for voicing their thoughts against a government policy – does that not ring warning bells to you!? None at all? And you think the church is mafia-like and a threat to freedom when the government is ALREADY suspending freedom of expression and attempting to control people’s views and beliefs through what information it allows them to access? Does it not seem odd?

      Just look at what the hell has been happening in Croatia in the last few years – it is absolutely foolish to delude oneself into thinking right-wing conservative values alone have gotten the country into the strife it is in today. Besides, what the hell makes the government think they know how to best educate people when they can’t even educate themselves on simple historical facts; when they can’t even get themselves together and start fixing a crippled economy? That should be the FIRST priority and they’re just sitting on their ass distracting people with ridiculous issues that are not a priority, while the majority of citizens lose jobs, money and struggle to survive. Oh but you know, imposing sex education is more important than salvaging a doomed economy and maybe looking into why so many citizens are leaving their homeland year after year; of course it is, that’s what people need at this time – sex education and not jobs, money, a reason for actually getting out of bed each day.

      It’s easy to spit on the church when you don’t understand what faith has meant to many Croatians throughout their numerous struggles. When you understand that, maybe you’ll understand why the church speaks up for certain values and beliefs that are shared by Christians in the country.

      • Kat, I agree – if it takes the church to make the world aware of the fact that the government is doing the wrong thing – in this case denying the parents etc their constitutional right to consultation and have their say in the education of their children – LONG LIVE THE CHURCH! But it wasn’t just the church in this case it was many others.

    • Sorry Pavao, but I think you are completely wrong here, the church just as anyone else in society has a complete right in pointing out that the government is doing the wrong thing and the government instead of spreading hateful rejections of anything the church, or parents etc, had to say on the matter, should have listened and at least acknowledged respectfully what people are saying, including the church. The church did not in this case interfere with the government but brought attention to the fact that many parents were unhappy with the content of sex education provided, surely that is the church’s right especially given that they are kind of advocates for their parishioners

      • OK Ina, we must agree to disagree. I am just as anti left as I am anti far right, both extremes give me the willies. As for the church, It is THE most destructive, anti social and corrupt of all the organisations in Croatia who’s tax exempt existence pervades every walk of life with no responsibility to go with thier influence. My three years living in Sweden taught me what government should be about – shame about the climate though 🙂

      • Pavao, I believe that it’s not Croatian invention not to tax the church – churches have been tax exempt in western christian civilised societies for centuries; any churches even the modern evangelical ones that keep spreading the gospel, set up by lay people etc. The church is not perfect, nor is the government but it’s the government’s duty to do ensure adherence to the constitution and laws, and in democracy everyone is allowed to shout & complain – even the church. The church exists because people choose it voluntarily, and the government exists because we vote for them to, individuals either choose to go to church or not, many have faith and are believers even if they do not attend church but if you call the church a mafia, you also call all your people who attend it members of mafia – that is unfair. I’m happy to differ on this from your views.

      • Yes, long live the Catholic Church, stained with its pedophile scandals, forced conversions of indigenous peoples on every continent(Africa, The Americas, Asia), the inquisition, Stepanić.

        There’s nothing wrong with the church making “the world aware of something that is wrong”

        It’s the lack of separation between church and government which is highly disturbing..which makes it no better than Iran.

      • Fred, I understand where you might be coming from but the church in Croatia has no power as what happened in Iran. The Church is separated from the state in Croatia but it would seem that there are those who think that the church has no right to an opinion on matters affecting the people, the community – after all, even priests have nephews and nieces…even they are citizens with equal rights as any other, especially the right to freedom of expression.

  2. ZvonimirŠeparović says:

    Draga Ina, ovo je najbolje što nam se dogodilo svih ovih posljednjih godina. Konačno jedna mudra etična odluka Ustavnog sudfa Hrvatske. Bog će Ti platiti za ovu domoljubnu povijesnu bogoljubnu akciju. Zvonko

    • Translation of Zvonimir Separovic comment: Dear Ina, this is the best thing that has happened to us in these recent years. Finally, a wise ethical decision by the Constitutional court of Croatia. God shall reward you for this this patriotic historical God-loving action. Zvonko

      • “God shall reward you” ….. That won’t happen! god is a myth.
        Two views, Are they equal?

      • Pavao, views hold value for the beholder and, therefore, all have equal value – each to his/her own. We choose to believe in God, or not. God may be a myth to you and others but certainly not to multitudes.

  3. Croatian Constitutional Court Abolishes Health (Sex) Education Curriculum – Croatia, the War, and the Future

  4. So interesting to read about how curricula gets created in differentnparts of the world. I would love to learn more about the curricula content.

    • Thank you on your comment psychologistmimi – an overwhelming opposition to the introduction of the now suspended sex education module had to do with appalling lack of stakeholder consultation prior to introduction and the content that aroused enormous outcries in community/parents/church… Briefly, here is a translation of a part of the text on the issue from wikipedia (there are other sources in Croatian language to do with curricula content, but wikipedia one puts it in brief and it does reflect the facts, so I’ve translated it): “Module “sex / gender equality and responsible sexual behavior” anticipates adoption of the skills needed for responsible sexual behavior, including issues of risk of early sexual activity, action, advantages and disadvantages of different methods of contraception, the importance of the adoption of autonomous and responsible decision to enter into sexual relationships (what it means to be ready / to?), and theme and issues so. “sexual initiation” agreement on the importance of responsible sexual behavior with a partner, and express and defend personal boundaries and needs of the partnership. Separate block provides the theme of emotion and communication in this regard, the importance of peer communication in a partnership / friendly relationship and the importance of intimacy in the relationship. Provides for the issue of gender bias and discrimination in their history, the debate on how to overcome the sex / gender stereotypes, analyze, display of sexuality in pornography (in pornography shows women as men?), And the impact of pornography on adolescents”. – Google translate can be used if needed for this article. This of course is brief as far as content of curricula is concerned, but it caused a great deal of unrest. Generally, stakeholders agree that sex education needs to occur (and it has been for decades) but this new curriculum touched raw nerves and questions of morality flew left right and center.

      • Paulo Jonsic says:

        Ina, what exactly was the church’s moral position in response to the contentious ‘module 4’? Being a youth who grew up in Croatia whom emigrated to Australia, I feel a lot of ‘module 4’ should be covered in Australian curricula but isn’t. The relationship between pornography and sexuality is quite complex in 2013 and at least it should be explained to students why pornography does not mirror reality. From a practical ethical viewpoint, the large majority of my friends (I’m a male) watched a great deal of pornography in early high-school and for a few years, most of us had great misconceptions with respect to sexual behaviour due to it, so in lieu of this, given that a the majority of male students will watch pornography from as young as 12, why not explain to them in a mature and sophisticated manner the failings of porn? I found the church to be quite hopeless on dealing with this particular issue in my time at school. They became irrelevant to a large majority of the student body because their preachings on pornography were scientifically absurd but more to the point, far to ideological in nature for us to take them seriously, and I speak on behalf of the male student body as opposed to a personal experience. So forgive me for being something of a sceptic when the church decides to influence policy on the basis of a ‘moral ground’.

      • I think Paulo Jonsic that you’ve hit the nail on the head when it comes to pornography being taught – I believe that the curriculum did not treat it as something that does not mirror reality but rather as something “take it all leave, all good…” there were other issues with the curriculum that some parent advocates or associations did not agree on and found themselves at a loss for not being consulted. The church I guess as a right as any other organisation representing citizens etc to comment. It is a secular society and state but that does not mean the church can’t comment. I think the issue was a great deal about severe lack of public consultation but also parts of the curriculum cause quite a stir. Church definitely shouldn’t influence government policy but when church acts as some sort of mediator or advocate for its “flock”, the parents, then it does have a right to have a say and even influence policy, after all gov policy in democracies should and does have a consultative background with the community.

    Pozdravljam Vas najsrdachnije i divim vam se svim srcem shto se brinete i shtitite svoj narod i nashu Evropsku rasu.
    Danas mi je prvi put da Vas citam, ali neche da bude zadnji.
    Na bivshem prostoru Jugoslavije retko ima ljudi koji josh cuvaju moral i nacionalni ponos. Vi ste jedna od tih retkih osoba.
    Volim sve sto je slavensko u bivshoj jugoslaviji – katolika ili pravoslavnih, meni je to isto. Znam da Vi ne osecate isto, na zalost.Nadam se da ce rane da zazdrave jednog dana i da budemo opet braca i sestre, zato sto mi SMO braca i sestre.
    Kako bi htjela da proshetam u centru Zagreba, bila sam nekoliko puta – lijep grad, lijepi ljudi.
    Zelim sve najbolje Vama, Ina, i mom dragom Hrvatskom Narodu !Zacuvajte svoje mlade generacije od zla i razvrata !
    Voli vas sve,

    • Translation of Betty comment: Dear Ina, Hearty greetings to you and I admire you with the whole of my heart for caring and protecting your people and our European race. Today is the first time I read your articles, but it won’t be the last. In the territory of former Yugoslavia there are rare people who still protect the morality and national pride. You are on of those rare people. I love everything that is Slavic in former Yugoslavia – Catholics and Orthodox, it’s all the same to me. I know you don’t feel the same, regretfully. I hope that wounds will heal one day and that we become brothers and sisters, because we are brothers and sisters. How I would love to stroll across the centre of Zagreb, I have been there several times – lovely city, lovely people. I wish you all the best, Ina, and to my dear Croatian people! Keep your young generations from evil and perversion. I love you all, a Macedonian.

      Reply: Thank you on your comment Betty, much appreciated. I have no way of knowing why you would think that Croatians, or I indeed, do not respect the Orthodox. Just because there is the need to reconcile war crimes and ensure perpetrators receive justice (whatever their religion or nationality) so that victims could truly rest in peace and I promote that need, does not mean a generalized intolerance of any race or creed. Those who see it or talk about it in that way, to my belief, do that in order to conceal wrong doings or avoid having those responsible for crimes get away with them without having to face justice. Even brothers and sisters must answer to each other and face the wrongs done so that future has a better chance.

  6. where can I see the courts decision, I have been looking for it and cannot find it, not even in the Constitucional Court’s web page.

    • Ambar I cannot locate it either, I just picked up on media articles as well as statements on TV by Constitutional Court’s judges. It a shame that one cannot easily find court judgments by searching the net, that should be available like in other countries for published judgments and then for unreported ones one can also access via other means. Perhaps someone out there in cyberspace will help. Cheers

      • Well Ina, we actually agree. I do think the Church (or mosque, or synagoge) has a say in society. But I also think that the Christian Church has a heavier influence in Croatia than in most countries…somewhat like Evangelicals have in certain states in the US, As Governor Rick Perry of Texas this week signing a sate bill saying ” Americans have no right to freedom from religion”

        But let’s cut to the chase and what this is all about.. fear. Fear of “pedophiles” and “homosexuals”. Economic unrest is always a time for people to recoil and blame minorities (see Nazi Germany, Blacks and Hispanics today in the US) for whats wrong with society, as what my view is of Croatia right now.

        I’m very proud of my friends who marched in Zagreb and Split Pride Parades the last two weekends.

      • Yes Fred it does have influence but if you really look at the churches and their flock in numbers it really doesn’t differ in Croatia to most Western countries I don’t think. I think that perhaps the “loud” voice the church is perceived and seen as having in Croatia could maybe be attributed to the fact that it was suffocated for decades under communism and it’s sort got a second lease on public life…the Church in Croatia does not differ in its views on homosexuality from say the church everywhere but I am so pleased to see that gay rights are taken seriously by many.

  7. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about cgseniors.


  1. […] Minister Zoran Milanovic sat on the curriculum board!) divided the nation in 2013 and eventually the Constitutional court abolished in May 2013 the sex education program as it stood. It was back to the drawing board on the sex education program, but not far enough as […]

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