Slovenian Education Minister Notes Roles of Teachers in Combatting Anti-Semitism & Hate Speech

By , 27 Nov 2018, 13:00 PM News
Education Minister Jernej Pikalo Education Minister Jernej Pikalo

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STA, 26 November 2018 - Education Minister Jernej Pikalo discussed how to prevent anti-Semitism at Monday's session of the EU's Education, Youth, Culture and Sport Council in Brussels, pointing to the thin line between freedom of speech and hate speech and noting that the educational system played the key role in preventing the spreading of hatred.

The discussion was held at the initiative of the Austrian presidency of the EU in the context of the recent anti-Semitic attack in a synagogue in Pittsburgh, US.

Pikalo said that all European societies had the problem of defining the line between freedom of speech and hate speech, which was why all kinds of deviations were taking place.

Related: Our stories on hate speech can be found here

The minister stressed that more proactivity in the prevention of spreading of hatred towards any individuals or groups would be introduced in the educational system.

"Policies and approaches in this field must be especially sensitive and proactive, because we must not allow any of the historical situations we were in to repeat," Pikalo stressed.

He said that the Holocaust must not be only a history lesson, but a lesson for the present time, adding that Slovenia was playing an active role in that respect.

Slovenia sends teachers to Israel each year

Pikalo noted that around 50 teachers from Slovenia went to Israel every year as part of an educational programme, adding that Slovenia also had curricular and extracurricular activities which promoted democratic awareness.

In the context of hate speech, the minister also commented for the press on the call by Prime Minister Marjan Šarec to state-owned companies to reconsider pulling ads in the media which instigate hate speech.

Related: Our stories on Jewish Slovenia are here

Pikalo said that he supported Šarec's call. "It does not matter at the moment what direction the matter will take," he said, noting that the prime minister was not calling on the companies to act, but to consider an idea.

The EU ministers also discussed youth-related topics, focusing on the question of how to best implement the new European strategy for youth.

Slovenia wants greater integration of EU education

Pikalo said that from now on, the sessions of the government council for youth will feature relevant ministers, who would get better acquainted with the problems and challenges faced by the youth sector in Slovenia.

The ministers further discussed the Towards a European Education Area by 2025 document, a new initiative recently unveiled by the European Commission, which includes the idea to establish a network of European universities.

As a country which wants to be at the core of the EU, Slovenia wants to be connected in the field of education, said Pikalo, while noting that educational policies were always national policies.

The minister said that he had received initiatives from two Slovenian universities for cooperation at the EU level, adding that his ministry supported such integration.

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