Polish student to read religious, patriotic books

The required reading list of Polish students will be changed to include more religious and patriotic works, Poland's education minister said Friday.

Minister Roman Giertych's proposed list would include books about the late Polish-born Pope John Paul II and works by Polish writer Henryk Sienkiewicz.

The plan has raised concerns because some classics currently in the curriculum - including works by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Joseph Conrad - would be removed to make way for the new titles.

Culture Minister Kazimierz Michal Ujazdowski said it was "completely imcomprehensible" to remove those authors from the curriculum, and appealed for further debate.

Giertych said he was still "open to arguments" about what books to cut before making a final decision on June 20.

However, he said he was determined to add to the reading list books by or about John Paul, and was adamant that high school students should be required to read four books by Nobel winner and "Quo Vadis" author Sienkiewicz.

"The decision to return Sienkiewicz to schools is a decision that I definitely will not withdraw, and is justified by our culture, tradition and history," Giertych told reporters in Warsaw.

Sienkiewicz's "Quo Vadis" chronicles the struggles of early Christians in ancient Rome under the emperor Nero. The other books Giertych wants to make mandatory are epic tales drawn from Polish history.

Giertych is the leader of the ultra-Catholic and nationalist League of Polish Families, a junior partner in Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski's conservative government. He has been a controversial presence since he took charge of the Education Ministry last year.

He recently launched a contentious plan to ban on what he and his supports call "homosexual culture" in schools.

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