Commentary Indoctrination

A curious case of gender education in the Czech Republic

Radim Fiala of SPD openly criticized high school freshmen in Blansko. Immediately after he published his critical post on Facebook, something we might call a media headwind emerged.

To put it simply, the backlash is criticizing his criticism of an ongoing indoctrination in Czech schools. But does boys wearing skirts or girls wearing uniforms count as a fight against fear and hate?

Let’s take a look back to remind us of this ‘Jandák moment’. When former President Havel finished his dream project, a movie based on his play 'Leaving', most critics didn’t dare to be adequately critical simply out of respect and considering his age and illness. Actually, most people but one, a then MP Vítězslav Jandák. By denouncing it, he allowed critics to shift their focus on him and ignore the movie.

In this case, infamous far right politician Fiala has replaced Jandák and drew public attention away from the happening itself. On his Facebook profile, he just raised a question if there isn’t an ongoing indoctrination at schools, which was at the heart of his critique and should be essential for a consequent public debate.

The question itself is indeed important. Fiala believes, based on his observations, that indoctrination is happening. In fact, we are still far from ‘indoctrination levels’ of some Western countries, the process is not systemic yet.

However, we must not forget a recent case of kids’ news aired on Czech public TV that Václav Klaus Jr. legitimately criticized. Also, those who are familiar with ideological seminars for Czech teachers, would probably agree with Fiala.

But above all, nothing supports Fiala’s concerns as much as a response of the high school director. He expressed his support for such events as they are ‘supporting the role-model of a functional traditional family more than any restrictions, insults and intolerance’ – all of which was according to the director present in Fiala’s post.

What does he mean by that? Disrupting of gender stereotypes supports traditional family? Does it apply only if compared to the Facebook cesspool? And does it even matter when we are allegedly fighting the world of fear and hate?  

Additionally, the Office of the Government, precisely its Council for Equal Opportunities of Women and Men, sent a letter to the school. In the letter, its director also showed support for involved students and offered to hold one of the Council’s seminars on gender equality in Blansko.

So Fiala was apparently right after all.

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