Czech education minister says that LGBTQ+ teaching belongs in Czech schools

During a debate on the reform of Czechia's curriculum, Mikuláš Bek drew parallels between learning about sexual minorities and women's rights. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 16.04.2024 15:14:00 (updated on 16.04.2024) Reading time: 2 minutes

Czech Minister of Education Mikuláš Bek has said in a televised debate that teaching LGBTQ+ topics belongs in the modern Czech secondary school curriculum. The comment has sparked debate among coalition and opposition members of parliament (MPs).

Teaching should be unideological

Speaking to broadcaster TV Nova Sunday during a broader debate on reforming Czechia’s education and schooling system, Bek said that learning about the history and nature of the LGBTQ+ community is on par with learning about women’s emancipation.

"I think it is clear today that topics such as women's equality, the transformation of the role of women in society, and the increasing rights of sexual minorities are simply things that belong in education," he said.

However, the minister said that schools should not politicize LGBTQ+ topics. “Teaching at school should not be a practical recipe for [framing] political preferences and behavior," he said. He believes that it is possible to understand things like the role of LGBT+ in society without "ideological thorns.”

"Even in the LGBTQ+ community, you can see how the view of these people has changed, from it being a disease to being seen as normal. These subjects can be accommodated in school without any ideological problem," he added. Bek is unsure whether schools should cover this material in history lessons or whether teachers should present it in a different context, but reaffirmed that teaching about the LGBTQ+ community is needed.

Should Czech schools include LGBTQ+ topics as part of their curriculum?

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No 60 %
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Opposition to LGBTQ+ teaching

Deputy chairman of the Parliamentary Committee for Science, Education, Culture, Youth and Sports Zdeněk Kettner, an MP for the right-wing opposition Freedom and Direct Democracy party, sharply disagreed with Bek. 

"The LGBTQ+ community has no historical justification," Kettner said. "This is a completely new ideological construct that does not belong in history," he added. He also voiced his concern about the possible contradiction between the biological interpretation of gender, which may conflict with teaching about LGBTQ+ topics.

Kateřina Jurigová of the ruling Civic Democrats party also disapproved of Bek’s proposal. “LGBTQ+ topics definitely do not belong in history lessons – and certainly not in the form [Bek] suggests. How about conveying to children more serious and necessary social topics for the future, such as empathy and respect for the elderly?” she wrote on social media site X.

Participants in the TV Nova program began the debate on LGBTQ+ teaching in schools while discussing a future school reform (for which no exact date has been set) prepared by the Education Ministry that seeks to limit memorization and focus more on the social environment.

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