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Ljiljana Čolić

Ljiljana Čolić
Љиљана Чолић

Ph.D.
Minister of Education and Sport
In office
3 March 2004 – 19 October 2004
Preceded by Gašo Knežević
Succeeded by Slobodan Vuksanović
Personal details
Born 1956
Belgrade, Serbia, SFR Yugoslavia
Nationality Serbian
Political party Democratic Party of Serbia
Religion Serbian Orthodox

Ljiljana Čolić, Ph.D. (Serbian Cyrillic: Љиљана Чолић) (born 1956, Zemun, Belgrade, Yugoslavia) is a former Minister for Education and Sport in the Government of Serbia.

Personal life and achievements

Čolić, a self-avowed "devout Orthodox Christian", is a professor of Ottoman language and paleography at the University of Belgrade and she holds a graduate degree in philosophy and a Ph.D. in philology. She works as an associate professor teaching Turkish at the University of Belgrade Faculty of Philology; and in Priština, she worked as guest professor at the Faculty of Philosophy.

Čolić was a deputy in the Federal Parliament and one of the founders of the Democratic Party of Serbia. She speaks English, French fluently.

Political life

Čolić was named Minister of Education and Sport in March 2004. As a conservative government superseded a reformist one, Dr. Čolić worked hard to alter and reverse changes from the previous government. These measures included: suspending the teaching of English from first grade; limiting the use of modern and sophisticated methods; and the introduction of Serbian Orthodox religious teaching as a compulsory subject from the first grade.

She made an appearance in the international mass media spotlight on September 7, 2004, when she ordered Serbian schools to suspend the teaching of evolution unless they introduced creationism. [1]

Researchers, teachers, the Serbian Academy of Science and Arts and some 40 non-government organisations and human rights groups voiced their concern over such a move, including UNICEF. Nikola Tucić, a Belgrade University biology lecturer, described the education minister’s ruling as a "disaster." He stated that it was "outrageous" in a comment published by Glas Javnosti. He went on that teaching biology without Darwin is "senseless", "becoming a theocratic state and in the 21st century", and going "back to the Book of Revelations". The Serbian administration initially backed her decision, stating "accumulated scientific knowledge on the origin and development of man is full of voids"; however, after widespread protest, on September 9 of the same year, Prime Minister Vojislav Koštunica reversed the decision and announced that Čolić would be replaced.

On September 16, 2004, she resigned after a meeting with Koštunica. Slobodan Vuksanović replaced her in October 2004.

In June 2006 she published a book titled Put (path), staunchily defending her actions as a minister of education. On the official promoting of her book, she claimed that during her tenure, when she asked foreign advisors why they pushed so hard for the reform of Serbian education, she got answer that they need plumbers, not educated people (Politika newspapers, June 13, 2006, page 10).

Quotes

  • It is normal that a minister's personality leaves a mark. This is my mark and time will tell if I was right.
  • [on Darwinism] is a theory as dogmatic as the one which says
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