Religious Rights as an Element of School Choice in Russia: Contemporary Contours of Law, Policy and Court Practice
This chapter explores the relevance of the phrase ‘school choice’ to the current situation in the Russian education system. Is ‘school choice’ a recognised right in Russian legislation and practice? If so, what are the legal, administrative, financial, organisational and other factors that preclude the full realisation of this right and how can these barriers be overcome? In an attempt to answer these questions and without aiming at providing a comprehensive review of education law and policies in Russia this chapter gives an overview of the legal framework for school choice in Russia, factual barriers to its full realisation and relevant recent cases of the Russian Constitutional Court, Supreme Court and ordinary courts of Russian regions on the issues of accessibility of schools to every child in Russia in the context of current education policy.
This chapter contains four important cases of the Supreme Court of Russia dealing with finding the right balance between freedom of religion and the right to education. In particular, these are rulings on regional regulations prescribing school uniform for secular state educational institutions, on compulsory subject in public schools curriculum ‘Basics of religious culture and secular ethics’, on the right to establish private religious schools and on the right to set up Sunday schools without license.
Researchers get easily lost when embarking on comparative legal research. The main reason being that there is no agreement on the kind of methodology to be followed, or even methodologies that could be followed. Moreover, almost everything that was more or less established in the area of comparative law over the last century has been increasingly criticised during the last few decades: the concept of ‘legal family’, the possibility of comparison itself, the object of comparison, etc.
On the other hand, comparing domestic law with the way the same area has been regulated in one or more countries has become almost compulsory in doctrinal legal research.
How should a comparative researcher cope with this apparent paradox ?
In this paper an attempt is made to work out a methodology for comparative legal research, which goes beyond the ‘functional method’ or methodological scepticism.
The starting point is the idea that we need a ‘toolbox’, not a fixed methodological road map, and that a lot of published, but largely unnoticed, research offers varying approaches, which could usefully be applied in comparative research. Basically, it is the research question which will determine which methods could be useful. Moreover, different methods may be combined, as they are complementary and not mutually exclusive.
This article presents a comparative legal study of the creation and functioning of international economic organizations that existed in different historical periods: the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance, the European Union and the Customs Union of the EAEC. The study determined the importance of international organizations in the economic growth of their member countries. An assessment will be made of the role of these organizations in the establishment and development of foreign economic relations and in the integration processes in the world economy. The need for this kind of comparative legal research is motivated by the lack of theoretical elaboration in this field. The concluding section of this study is a generalized judgement about the practicability and usefulness of the functioning of the CMEA, the European Union and the EAEC Customs Union.
This chapter demonstrates new trends in regulation of education in Russia, particuarly general education. It explores the positive developments in institutional development of education system and in the legal status of teachers and students. The new law 'On Education in the Russian Federation' and following legislation made Russian educational system more transparent and accessible. For example, all educational institutions of all levels, types and forms are now obliged to make important information about themselves available online. This rule is strictly monitored by both state agencies and public oversight bodies. Furthermore, education system has become more open to international exchange of foreign students, teachers, and learning technologies. It is a very important development that allowed Russian authorities to establish a very ambitious goal to ensure that by 2020 at least 5 of Russia’s best universities will be rated in the world’s top 100.
Education is now much better funded and regulated. The work of providers of both public and private education is becoming more open to external public scrutiny and, essentially, more accountable. The content of education is becoming more diverse and adaptable to the needs of the society. Of paramount importance is the growing public involvement and public interest in making education more accessible for all and of better quality. It seems, indeed, that the combination of strong systematic legislative regulation and encouragement of public participation in resolving issues of both nation-wide and local importance have a combined positive effect.
As the fifth book in a series of volumes on comparative legal issues in education (the others were on the rights of students, teachers, children with disabilities, and the status of higher education), then, this book focuses on issues in elementary or primary and secondary education so as to offer guidance to educational and legislative leaders in other nations. As reflected in the attached chapter outline, the book will include original chapters that have not been previously published, addressing legal issues in no less than a fifteen countries on all six inhabited continents. Although all chapters will follow the same template so that similarities and differences can be compared, authors are free to add information as they see fit. All of the chapter authors are leading academicians in the home countries and have contributed to other volumes in this series. As such, there is strong continuity from one volume to the next.
This article is a review of recommendations of the UN expert mechanisms on the implementation of the right to education in Russia from a pragmatic point of view. It aims to present these recommendations as a legal tool that can be used by stakeholders to improve the legal status of participants in educational relations and the education system as a whole.
This book seeks to provide a panorama of the issues arising from pluralism in the education system and of judicial responses to them around the globe. In it, thirty-four authors representing many different legal cultures have selected and commented the most significant judicial decisions in each of the jurisdictions analysed. The topics addressed include religious and cultural symbols; faith-based, religious, and citizenship education; freedom of teaching and scientific freedom; homeschooling; authorization, funding and other matters concerning denominational and private schools, among other legal disputes. The reader will easily sense many different ideological orientations throughout the book’s thirty-seven chapters, which is only the result of pluralism itself and of scientific freedom. Nevertheless, the editors believe that all of the authors have inherently favoured the desire to understand the challenges of pluralism and to convey knowledge that is relevant for a public debate rather than defending their own particular point of view. Indeed, facilitating debate might be considered to be the best achievement of a publication of this kind. The book is divided into six parts. The introductory part features a chapter by the editors concerning the implementation and justiciability of the right to education, and a second chapter by Prof. Charles L. Glenn providing an in-depth historical essay on the importance of debates over religion and education. The five remaining parts reflect a geographical division: Part II includes two chapters on international human rights bodies (the European Court of Human Rights and the United Nations Human Rights Committee); parts III to VI group national courts’ decisions by region: Europe, the Americas, Africa, and lastly Asia and Australia.