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Public schools

The main legal basis is the Religious Instruction Act of 1949 (RelUG), whose s. 1(1) determines religious instruction as a compulsory subject for all pupils being members of a legally recognised church or religious society and attending schools with public status, such as primary and secondary schools, agriculture and forestry colleges, vocational schools, colleges for social work and pedagogical colleges. At other schools religious instruction is optional.
In accordance with religious freedom, s. 1(2) leg. cit. guarantees the possibility to withdraw from religious education. This right can be exercised by the pupil’s parents, after the pupils has reached the age of 14, by her- or himself.
Pupils who are not affiliated or members of other than legally recognised religious societies are allowed to stay in another denominational class. However, this does not mean that they attend another religious education; the latter is not provided by the law.
Religious education is a subject marked in the school reports. If registered confessional communities organise religious education outside public schools and not subsidised by the State, the pupils’ attending can be recorded in the school reports, but not marked.
The pupils’ denominational affiliation – be it to a legally recognised church or religious society or to a registered confessional community - is stated in the school reports.
According to s. 2 of Religious Education Act the curricula for religious instruction are adopted by the recognised churches and religious societies themselves, whereas the number of lessons per week is determined by the State. The teachers need to be authorised by the respective religious society. Their salaries are paid by the State unless there are less than three pupils registered for one class. Small groups – also of different schools – can be joined, in order to enlarge the class. For details see s. 7a leg. cit. Islamic religious education has been offered since 1982/83.

D 1 December 2014    AWolfgang Wieshaider

CNRS Unistra Dres Gsrl

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