Representatives of Labris presented results of an analysis of the discriminatory content of high school and college textbooks to the Minister of Education, Science and Technological Development, g. Tomislav Jovanovic
Referring to the anti-discrimination law, the law on the textbooks and other teaching aids, the Anti-discrimination Strategy, the recommendations issued by the office of the Commissioner for Protection of Equality (recommendations to the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Serbia, the National Council of Education and the Department of improving the quality of education for removal of discriminatory content from the teaching materials and practices, and to promote tolerance and respect for human rights), as well as the latest analysis of the books part of high school and college (Labris, 2014), Labris representatives at the meeting held on Wednesday, 29 January of 2014. reached an agreement with the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development about the necessity of the changes of discriminatory content on the same-sex sexual orientation from teaching material.
Discriminatory content, which is prohibited by Article 4 of Law on textbooks and other teaching aids, is presenting same-sex sexual orientation, as a sick, pathological, abnormal, and still is presented in the textbooks of high school and college textbooks, is shown in analysis done by Labris in period from 2006 to 2014.
“Among homosexuals there are plenty of masochists”, “A special group of sexual disorders includes homosexualism (male and female) and transsexualism”, “Homosexual acts are, however, sometimes executed to avoid the development of a malignant paranoid psychosis. It has been noticed that sometimes homosexualism is accompanes by, simultaneously or alternately, transvestism, fetishism and exhibitionism” (M. Popović, V. Jerotić: Psihoterapija i psihodinamika neuroza, Beograd, Nolit, 1985) – These are only few examples which are presented in the Labris analysis.
The Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development, and representatives of Labris agreed that such examples undoubtedly affect the formation of discriminatory environment for LGBT students as well as creation of an atmosphere of social intolerance and intolerance toward this minority group.
Addition to the presentation of the legislative framework, the negative attitudes in textbooks, coordinators of Labris reminded The Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development on the recommendations in relation to this subject drafted by the Commissioner for Protection of Equality. The Office of the Commissioner for Equality in December 2010 formed the working group for the analysis of the curriculum and teaching materials in terms of their compliance to the principles of education for human rights and inclusive society. The working group had a task to collect, analyze and summarize the results of analysis of the curriculum, textbooks and other educational materials for high school and college and based on that analysis to develop a proposal of recommendations on how are relevant issues related to human rights, non-discrimination, tolerance , nonviolence, equality, acceptance of diversity and etc. are to be integrated into the curricula and textbooks in accordance to the principles of education for human rights and inclusive society. The working group was consisted of members of the relevant civil society organizations engaged in the promotion and protection of human rights.
The working group, among other things, proposed following measures:
- The introduction of affirmative and accurate presentation of same-sex sexual/emotional orientation, as well as transgender and intersex identities in all textbooks (both natural and social sciences), including examples LGBTTIAQ individuals as a part of historical and modern democratic societies;
- The removing of the stereotyping of gender roles, professions and encouraging varieties; insisting on the multiplicity and complexity of human identity, value the individuality, the solidarity and the creativity regardless of gender;
- The expulsion from the textbooks and curricula terminology which is outdated, obsolete and offensive, especially the expulsion of content abound medical approach, stating the diagnosis and prejudices in relation to the capacity of children, especially children with disabilities;
- The curriculum and teaching material should present different models of families in the modern society (single parents, foster families, families without children, same-sex families, etc.);
- The teaching materials in its content, and teachers in their teaching practices and ways of working with the students, should foster awareness of diversity, promote non-violent culture, equality and non-discriminatory practices, as postulates of the democratic society based on respect for the human rights.
Labris demands that the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development, the National Council of Education and the Department of improving the quality of education urgently act according to the current anti-discrimination law, the law on the textbooks and other teaching aids, the Anti-discrimination Strategy, the recommendations issued by the office of the Commissioner for Protection of Equality and to remove content that discriminate and marginalize a part of the society. There is no doubt that the development of any society depends on young people finishing education and entering the labor and intellectual forces of one country and that is why it is good for us to pay special attention on this issue especially in regards of the European course for which the Government of Republic of Serbia is committed.
Schools and collages with outdated textbooks are the source of violence not only for the students but also for the teaching staff. Due to the lack of interaction with peers who are in any way “different” and due to lack of understanding of universal social diversity, and consequently the rejection, deepens the discriminatory behavior, violence and exclusion. Labris belives that it’s time for change!