The education law from 2010 makes it clear that schools have to be non-religious, but the Education Agency says this has long been the case. The Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Church was part of the state until 2000. Photo: Per Lundberg/Sveriges Radio

Schools can have "non-religious church events"

New rules for how schools celebrate the christmas period mean that they can have go to church fort advent, as long as there is mo mention of god or Jesus at the event.

The head of the Swedish Education Agency, Anna Ekström, writes in Sunday's edition of the Dagens Nyheter newspaper that legal guidelines have been written, to help school management know what they are allowed to do during Advent, the weeks just before christmas.

Swedish schools are non-religious, and may not include prayers, blessings or worship in their activities. Pupils are supposed to be free from religious pressure. But many schools have had their end-of-year assemblies in church.

Anna Ekström, and Claes-Göran Aggebo, from the agency for education, say that the only solution is to allow schools to go to church, and allow pastors to take part in the assembly -as long as they do not say anything religious.

"It may seem contradictory, a religious festival without any religious elements", they write, "but in the light of the current law, this is the only possible solution that allows the schools to gather in church, while following the law."

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