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Le débat actuel et les développements récents

The curriculum for religious instruction is presently being overhauled - the programmes have changed over the past few years and are still changing. Generally, there are three different models – religious instruction (Christian, Islamic, Jewish), inter-religious instruction and general religious knowledge (religionskundlicher Unterricht).

Canton of Lucerne - Islamic classes in primary Schools

Some years ago, two municipalities in the Canton of Lucerne decided to offer religious classes in Muslim doctrine. The objective of this programme was to develop proficiency in religious knowledge – the students learn about Islamic tradition and know how to relate this tradition and its values to their own lives in Switzerland. The teaching was conducted in German language and the teachers were trained at the Institute for inter-religious education and pedagogy in Cologne (IPD Köln).

Cantons in central Switzerland (LU, OW, NW, UR, ZG) - "Ethik und Religion" in Primary schools

"Ethik und Religion" is a subject taught to the entire form, its content not being linked to a particular religion or denomination. Both disciplines, "Ethik und Religion" (ethics and religion) are considered as closely related, since religion and ethics contribute in moulding the society. The syllabus is based on an anthropological perspective and starts from the premise that the issues of life (birth, death, etc) which are dealt with in the religions, are a compulsory fact of human existence. The classes introduce the students to the existential, systematic, ritual, ethical, symbolic, historical and cultural perspectives of life.
The objectives are manifold - conditioning the way relationships are perceived in a social and religious environment, moulding the thought, expression, action and attitude.
The teaching methods used include biographical relationships, individuality, holistic/integrated methods (Ganzheitlichkeit) and inter-religious dialogue. The themes are varied – they may involve perceptions (good or bad fortune, one’s life story, strengths and weaknesses, failings etc.), religious issues (certain religious festivals or laws, the founders of a religion, etc.) or may even concern ethics (the right of the child, poverty and wealth, justice and injustice, etc.).

Canton of Zurich - "Religion und Kultur" in lower secondary

In 2007, religious instruction in the Canton of Zurich will change from being ecumenical (konfessionell kooperative Religionsunterricht) to a new subject called "Religion und Kultur" (religion and culture). Religious instruction will no longer be given by Pastors and Catechists but rather by secondary school teachers taking other subjects like history, geography, etc. It will hold twice a week in the 7th year, and once in the 8th year. The class will be compulsory, exemptions will not be granted and grades will be awarded.
The classes will treat the five major religions in the world namely Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism. The members of these religions in Switzerland have prepared basic information on their religions which will be integrated into the curriculum. The teachings are non-confessional and more of historical nature. The existing teaching material that has been used for the ecumenical instruction ("Menschen Leben in Religionen und Kulturen") will have to be reviewed for the new subject.
The scientific training will be delivered at the University of Zurich and the pedagogical training will be offered by Teacher Training College of Zurich. The scientific part is made up of an introduction to the five major religions, teaching from the different angles used to study the religions (theology, science of religion, etc.) as well as the European history of religions. The pedagogical aspect covers local communities, didactic conceptions and educational practice. Additional training for teachers is being prepared. The introduction and development of this subject will be accompanied and evaluated by the corresponding disciplines.

Source : Bildungsratsbeschluss zur Schaffung eines neuen Fachs "Religion und Kultur" an der Oberstufe der Volksschule, 23. August 2004, Bildungsrat, Kanton de Zürich ; Pädagogischen Hochschule Zürich ; R. Kunz, M. Pfeiffer u.a. : Religion und Kultur – ein Schulfach für alle ?, Zürich : TVZ 2005.

Religion as a complementary option in schools that prepare students for the School leaving certificate

The new regulation (1995) on the School leaving certificate provides for a "Religion" class as a complementary option. Schools preparing students for the School leaving certificate can create a curriculum which corresponds to the Federal educational plan. The Federal plan is very wide and therefore allows for very varied curricula to be drawn up. The different curricula can therefore be theologically as well as scientifically or historically based.

Source : Schweizerische Konferenz der kantonalen Erziehungsdirektoren : Dossier 30A : Rahmenlehrplan für die Maturitätsschulen, Bern : EKD 1994 ; Reglement über die Anerkennung von gymnasialen Maturitätsausweisen (Maturitätsreglement MAR) vom 16. Januar 1995.

 Canton of St. Gall - a rather theological programme
Here, religious instruction aims at developing the capacity to recognise religion as a constant anthropological fact, to deal with one’s own attitudes and the attitudes of others, to understand religious language, to know the contribution of religions (primarily Christian) to the resolution problems concerning values and norms in the very lives of the students and society. The content of the class revolves especially around Christianity and biographical and ethical themes. Non-Christian religions are also treated within the ethical framework. From the pedagogical point of view, the class deals with a theology of experience (Theologie der Erfahrung). The pedagogy also contains a "correlation principle", an integrated methodology (Ganzheitlichkeit) and information for action.

 Canton of Vaud - a programme dealing with the Science of religions
The complementary option is called "history and science of religions". A large part of this class is devoted to ancient and eastern religions, but also to European traditions. Another part aims at studying religious phenomena from the point of view of their functions, impact on societies and cultures, similarities and differences. The methods are therefore very different and multidisciplinary.

Source : State of Vaud, Vaud Secondary School agency, Ecole de maturité : objectifs, méthodes et programmes des cours 2016.

 Religious instruction in French-speaking Switzerland
In French-speaking Switzerland, religious instruction is non-confessional. The publishing house ENBIRO (Enseignement Biblique et Interreligieux Romand) is responsible for preparing the teaching materials. ENBIRO does this as organised as a non-profit organisation that brings together representatives of recognised Churches on the one hand (Roman Catholic, Christian Catholic and Protestant) and on the other hand, Cantonal agencies for public education who are responsible for religious instruction. ENBIRO thus offers a non-confessional teaching in history and religious knowledge, gathering the different players in the area of religious instruction together under its umbrella.

D 15 décembre 2012    AAnsgar Jödicke AKatharina Frank

CNRS Unistra Dres Gsrl

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