Religion and Religious Education in France

In a short article about Religious Education in the European Union Silvio Ferrari states: “A good example (for countries with no teaching of religion in school) is France, with the exception of Alsace-Moselle, French public schools do not offer a specific course where the teaching of one or more religions is provided.” (Ferrari, Silvio (2013): Religious education in the European Union. In: Derek Davis und Elena Miroshnikova (Hg.): The Routledge International Handbook of Religious Education. Hoboken: Taylor and Francis (The Routledge international handbook series), pp. 100–103, quote: p. 100)Charta

Now a new “confirmation” on laïcité and schools was given by the “Charter of Laicity of Schools” (Charte de la Laicité á l’école) initiated by the Ministry of National Education in October 2013.  All schools were obliged to publish this statement in their school. It starts with the heading: “The Republic is laic. The Nation engages the school to let the students participate in the values of the Republic.”
The items 1 to 9 entail more general issues on laicité eg in item 2: “The laic republic organizes the separation between state and religion.”
Items 10-15 are focused on school, eg. Item 11: “The whole staff has to be strictly neutral; none of them is allowed to express his/her political or religious views when working in school”. Or 12. “No student can on the basis of his/her religious or political view deny a teacher the right, to speak about an issue of the syllabus.”
The French Council of Muslims (CFCM) criticised that the Charter contains „allusions“ about the second biggest faith community in France and stigmatizes Muslims.

The Minister of Education Peillon reminded all schools that beside the Charter also the French flag, the slogan: Freedom, Equality, Fraternity“ and also the Declaration of Human Rights should be displayed. From 2015 on a subject about „laic morality“ will be introduced in all schools.


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