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Apple-Irrgang and others v. Germany, dec., No. 45216/07, ECtHR (Fifth Section), 6 October 2009

Type Judgment
Case number 45216/07


The introduction of compulsory ethics classes in public schools does not violate art. 2 of the first additional Protocol of ECHR.

Normative references

Art. 2 Prot. 1 ECHR


1. Although the definition and planning of the curriculum falls, in principle, within the competence of the Contracting States, pursuant to the second paragraph of art. 2 of the first additional Protocol of the ECHR, these must take care that information or knowledge included in the curriculum is conveyed in an objective, critical and pluralistic manner, in order to avoid  any indoctrination that might be considered as not respecting parents’ religious and philosophical convictions.

2. Where the introduction of ethics courses in schools aims to cover a variety of ethical topics in an objective and pluralistic way, without giving priority to one belief over another, or to omit or challenge other beliefs, in particular the Christian faith, it does not constitute indoctrination and it does not affect the right to respect for parents' religious and philosophical convictions.