Peru passes bill supporting parents' rights in education

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The Peruvian Congress on Thursday passed Bill 904, which supports the right of parents to educate their children according to their values and principles.

The bill was passed May 5 by a vote of 90 to 18, with eight abstentions.

It was introduced by Congressman Esdras Ricardo Medina and is titled the "Law promoting the quality of educational materials and resources in Peru."

Article 3 of the bill "provides for the participation of parents in the process of preparing the content of educational materials, texts and resources."

"Parents participate in the process of developing programs and the content of educational materials, texts and resources for Basic Education (preschool through high school) in conjunction with the institution through the APAFA (Association of Parents of Families) committees, civil associations or other representative bodies," the bill states.

Article 5 says that “officials and civil servants in the education sector may not approve or publish educational materials, texts or resources” without the participation of parents.

The bill also requires "complete respect for the religious freedom or moral convictions of students and their parents" and emphasizes that "education should not be a means to promote any type of social or political ideology."

Congressman Alejandro Muñante called the passage of the law a "victory supporting the right of parents to educate their children."

Muñante also said that he hopes that the president "doesn’t propose changes" to the bill, so that "one more step can be taken towards the recovery of an educational system that is a reflection of the Christian principles and values that Peruvian society embraces and defends.”

If the president of Peru proposes changes to a law, it is sent back to Congress. The legislators can accept the changes, or reject them, in which case the law is enacted as is.

Both the Minister of Education, Rosendo Serna, and the Minister of Women, Diana Miloslavich, have requested that the president propose changes to the bill in the coming days. The People’s Ombudsman’s Office  also joined the request.

According to Minister Miloslavich, the rule limits the powers of the Ministry of Education in the preparation of school materials: “I also believe that this affects our stewardship. I vote to have the legislation revised by the president. I hope to have the support of the Council of Ministers and the president,” she said.

Congresswoman Milagros Aguayo de Jáuregui commented: “Why be scandalized or prevent parents from having a more active participation in the educational process of their children? Why prevent them from participating as observers? Isn't that a constitutional right?”

Muñante assured that the bill "doesn’t take away the stewardship of the Ministry of Education in educational matters", but rather "materializes the priority right of parents" stated in Article 13 of the Constitution, which states: “Parents have the duty to educate their children and the right to choose the educational centers and to participate in the educational process."

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