Religious instruction

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The task of religious education (formerly also marked on certificates as religious doctrine) is to introduce the beliefs, history and value systems of one or different religions . A distinction is made between religious instruction in schools (schRU) and religious instruction outside of school (aRU).

Religious instruction is usually given from the professed point of view of a teacher who belongs to the religious community concerned . Thus, from the outset, religious education does not pretend to be given from a neutral point of view. In religious studies or ethics lessons, on the other hand, teachers have to put their own confessions or convictions aside and only impart comparative knowledge about different religions and their doctrines.

The traditions and structures of religious education and, if necessary, the integration into general school lessons, already differ considerably within Europe.

It is not uncommon for religious education to be given outside of school , i.e. outside of the official school operation, by the various religious communities as community lessons (formerly also “ Sunday school ”) and the like. Such forms are e.g. For example, the children Church , the first communions -, Firmungs - or confirmation instruction , Bible hours or Koran schools . The denominations give their religious instruction in the respective community centers or schools, in their places of worship ( churches , mosques , synagogues , temples etc.) or in the case of small denominations in private rooms.

Religious Education Worldwide


United States

In the United States of America, religious education is not given in public schools , but only offered by the religious communities in their own institutions. This complies with the principles of separation of state and church and freedom of religion under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution .



Religious instruction in Turkey is strongly influenced by the Kemalist principle of secularism . In fact, there are three different forms of religious instruction in Turkey today: State instruction in schools; the "Koran lessons" carried out by the Islamic religious communities, which, however, are under the supervision of the Diyanet İşleri Başkanlığı (Presidium for Religious Affairs); and thirdly, the more illegal forms of secret Koran courses.



In Denmark, the national school law ( folkeskolelov ) § 5.1 c) stipulates that Christianity teaching ( kristendomskundskab ) is taught from the 0th to the 9th, with the exception of the year in which the confirmation class takes place. This is the case in 7th or 8th grade. Confirmation classes take place in a room outside the school and are usually attended by the pastor who also gives the confirmation.

Kristendomskundskab is a compulsory, non-preaching subject, one of the tasks of which is to familiarize students with the Christian culture of Denmark and to contribute to their understanding of other cultures. Parents can have their children exempt from the subject, but no alternative lessons are offered.

The subject is not compulsory for the primary school final exam ( Folkeskolens Afgangsprøve ). However, it can be drawn as an oral examination subject by the Ministry of Education. The curriculum ( Fælles Mål ) of the subject provides that the pupils from the 7th grade onwards are also taught about the other world religions.

In 2015, the subject was mostly taught by teachers who did not study the subject as part of their teacher training (57%, as of the 2014/15 school year).


Religious instruction in Germany within the meaning of the Basic Law is religious instruction in public schools. In addition, religious communities are free to offer religious instruction as extracurricular religious instruction .

Religious instruction is given either by state teachers (commissioned by denominational institutions and under their specialist supervision ) or teachers trained and commissioned directly by the respective religious community. In Germany, religious education teachers are trained at religious education institutes and at theological faculties of state universities.

The main providers at German schools are the denominations or confessions belonging to Christianity of the Protestant and Roman Catholic churches, in whose religious instruction etc. a. also free churches and Orthodox students participate, provided no separate religious instruction is offered. In particular, the invitation to participate in Protestant religious education has always been addressed to all students, regardless of whether they belong to a religious community or not. Jewish religious education is offered in the states of Baden-Württemberg , Bavaria , Berlin , Lower Saxony and North Rhine-Westphalia. Since 2003, Buddhist religious instruction has also been offered across grades and schools in three public schools in Berlin . In North Rhine-Westphalia and Lower Saxony there has been " Islamic religious instruction" since 2012 and 2013, respectively, and the subject is being tested in pilot projects in numerous other federal states.


In France there is basically no religious instruction in schools. In 1905, the then parliament passed the law separating church and state ; this is still valid today. In three departments of France ( Haut-Rhin , Bas-Rhin and Moselle ), the law of 1905 came not in force because until the war ended in 1918 or until the entry into force of the 1871 Treaty of Versailles as Alsace-Lorraine , a part of the German Reich were . The Concordat of 1801 still applies there ; In these departments, religious instruction in schools is given under state sponsorship.


In Italy, Roman Catholic religious education is an optional subject in all state schools. Parents who do not want this must explicitly deregister their children.


In Luxembourg, religious education was abolished as a regular subject at the start of the 2016/2017 school year. Religious instruction as an optional subject has been replaced by standardized and compulsory values ​​instruction.


The subject has been reformed several times in recent years. The main point of contention was the weighting of the Christian teaching content.


In Austria, religious instruction is a compulsory subject for all students who belong to a legally recognized church or religious society. Religious instruction is provided, directed and directly supervised by the legally recognized church or religious society concerned. The training of religious education teachers takes place mostly at universities of teacher education (formerly: religious education academies ).

See also: Ethics classes in Austria


Religious instruction in Poland takes place at all publicly sponsored schools and kindergartens . It is officially a non-compulsory school subject (roughly corresponds to the German term “Wahlfach”). In most cases, however, the school administration initially registers all pupils for Roman Catholic religious instruction, and parents who do not want this must explicitly de-register their children.


The legal status and content of religious education in public schools is different in every canton in Switzerland . Due to the constitutionally guaranteed freedom of religion in Switzerland, denominational religious education is to be given as an optional subject separately from the other classes.

See also

Web links

Wiktionary: religious education  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  5. To prøver til udtræk UVM, accessed on November 4, 2018.
  8. abolished religious education in Luxembourg: pd