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L’enseignement confessionnel

The role of Catholicism

The Portuguese Catholic University, established in 1967 and recognized by the Portuguese State in 1971, is an example of the significance and investment that the Catholic Church has contributed to the field of education. It has more than 16 Faculties, Schools and Institutes and 4 departments and 22 research units spread throughout four centers (Beiras, Braga, Lisbon and Oporto).
"The UCP is a free and autonomous university institution of public utility, established by the Congregation for Catholic Education under the tutelage of the Concordat between Portugal and the Holy See, recognized by the Portuguese State in 1971. The legal framework for UCP is decree-law no. 128/90, 17 April. Article 21 of the 2004 Concordat recognizes the ’institutional specificity’ of the Portuguese Catholic University."

Source : Universidade Católica Portuguesa (UCP)

Due to the high number of schools, we are not able to identify all of them here. Nonetheless we would like to point out that there are 202 Catholic schools whose curricula are recognized by the Portuguese state. Among these we emphasize the São João de Brito School (Lisbon) and the Nossa Senhora da Boavista School (Oporto), who among many others were recognized in various studies as belonging to the top 10 schools in the country.

Source : Analysis from the Lista das Escolas Católicas, rankings published in "Jornal de Notícias" ; "24 Horas" ; "Expresso" ; "Sol" ; "Diário de Notícias" ; "Correio da Manhã" ; "Sic" and "Público".

The role of Protestantism in Education

The influence of Protestantism in Portugal at the end of the 19th and early 20th century is sustained by a strong emphasis on civic participation, especially in what regards religion. Religious celebration is supplemented by alphabetization projects, schooling and professional training. These worries give rise to day and night schools, dominical schools, Christian unions, and the League of Christian Endeavour among other associative movements.
Even though the Constitutional Charter prohibits the propagation of religious ideologies opposed to the Catholic faith, the end of the inquisition (1821) allows larger freedoms and the participation of other Christian traditions.
In fact, in 1838 Robert Kelley, backed by the Presbyterian Church of Scotland, and informed about the growth of Protestantism, develops a crusade against illiteracy and opens 27 night and day schools for adults and children, respectively, on the island of Madeira.
In 1908, one Protestant traveler in Portugal called Diogo Cassels was rewarded with the Distinguished Teaching Award by the government. Such an honorable mention was the result of a religious practice associated to educative action. Diogo Cassels, who founded two churches and two schools, had the bible as the only rule of faith and consolidated doctrinal training through a no less important training in school.

Source : Afonso, José António. Protestantismo e Educação : história de um projecto pedagógico em Portugal na transição do sec. XIX – PhD thesis supervised by Professors Justino Magalhães and Alberto Filipe Araújo)

Modern history reveals a distancing from Protestantism in relation to the role that scholar education held in its conception of the world. Some projects have been carried out but without the importance in the social context that it formerly enjoyed. However, we highlight three running education projects : ALFALIT – Alphabetization Schools (Lisbon) ; Alphabetization School for Adults (Amadora) ; Alphabetization School of Loures.
There are other evangelical schools that should be mentioned for the fact of being foreign. Hence, there are two American schools with official accreditation : International Christian School of Cascais and the Greater Lisbon Christian Academy. In language teaching we should also add Evangelical Christian Schools that offer courses from basic to advanced education : the English Language School (Carnaxide) ; Lusoinglês – Instituto de Línguas (Póvoa do Varzim) ; Logos Center – Instituto de Línguas e Apoio ao Ensino (Paredes, Paços de Ferreira e Rio Tinto ; Lusolíngua – Escola de Língua Portuguesa e Cultura (Lisbon)

Source : Evangelical Handbook

The Sunni School of Islam

The "Elementary Islamic Community School" (provisionary name at the time) has operated since 1997 and began with the authorization to teach only 7 students in the first year. However, student adherence exceeded fifty in 2000 and this aroused in the Islamic community the need to develop a project that also offered the 2nd and 3rd Cycles of basic education. The construction of the facilities for these cycles began in the following year, with the approval of the City Hall of Palmela as well as the Regional Direction of Education in Lisbon. The authorization to teach the 2nd Cycle came in 2003 whereas it was only in 2004 that the authorization for the 3rd Cycle was granted. In this year the number of students ascended to a hundred. They continued their efforts in the education field and in 2007 they requested the authority for secondary education which was approved after guaranteeing the necessary requirements. This has allowed for the current functioning of a group in the 10th grade.

Source : Information kindly granted by Sheikh Rashid Ismael, Islamic Community of Palmela

D 28 septembre 2012    ASimo Daniel Fonseca da Silva

CNRS Unistra Dres Gsrl

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