THE TEXT about divorced mother with one son who marries their neighbour should disappear from one of the phonics books used in Slovak primary schools, Education Minister Dušan Čaplovič decided on December 23. Putting the example of a divorced family in the book provoked criticism from traditionalists. Later, their complaints were backed by the Catholic Church.

Schools using the Lipka phonics book, one of three primers currently approved by the Education Ministry and used at Slovak schools, will be able to return the book and order one of the remaining two options, the SITA newswire reported.

Authors of the Lipka phonics book introduce every letter of the alphabet with a matching story. The now notorious star of the book, a neighbour named Žubajík, comes from a story related to the letter ‘Ž’. He comes to help out in the household of a divorced mother with one son. The boy grows up without a father, until his mother agrees to marry Žubajík.

The primer respects general and specific aims of education, respects up-to-date trends in education and observes social correctness, reads the statement of the Education Ministry obtained by SITA, but Čaplovič says he is not convinced that “children in such early age should be attacked by problems of adults, their parents; especially not in the first grade of primary school”, as reported by SITA.

Company Aitec, which publishes the Lipka phonic book, said it is willing to change the text.

“We will try to solve these things by re-edition, or some other steps,” Editor-in-Chief Walter Hirschner told SITA.

Source: SITA

Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports

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