Religion at the ESS
The Religious Education classes given at the European School of Strasbourg aspire to be “places especially conducive to education”. They play a full role in the general education and training process undergone by pupils at the European Schools. Points of reference are given to each pupil to enable them to develop their life and commitments in a thoughtful and responsible manner, “drawing inspiration from the cultural, religious and humanist inheritance of Europe”, to quote from the Preamble to the Lisbon Treaty.
These classes in religious education thus fall within the framework established in the Convention defining the Statute of the European Schools: “In education and instruction, the conscience and convictions of individuals shall be respected” (art. 4 § 6).
The classes thus help pupils to immerse themselves in the wealth of European culture, to become aware of and live together the experience of a shared European life, respecting the traditions of every country in Europe while preserving their own individual identity. They also aim to stimulate a dialogue with the culture and the human sciences, as well as with other religious, philosophical and moral traditions.
Through these classes, the pupils are made ready to be responsible citizens, capable of contributing to the development of democratic, supportive, pluralist societies open to other cultures. As such, they can access the wealth of cultural and religious diversity, while encouraging recognition and respect of the diversity of convictions, leading to a commitment for peace, justice, the safeguard of creation and a priority concern for the poorest among us.
We should bear in mind that the right of parents to choose the education and teaching of their children in the religion of their choice or classes in non-denominational ethics, provided as compulsory subjects, in conformity with their religious or philosophical convictions, is in keeping with article 14 § 3 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. Each course in religion develops its own specific programme in conformity with the fundamental aspects of the educational dynamic that the European Schools offer to pupils. These are devised by the competent religious authorities according to the criteria of all educational programmes in schools and approved by the Board of Governors of the European Schools.
Thus, the specific objectives of the teaching of religion are to develop an adequate understanding of philosophical and religious language, particularly where such language is symbolic. To permit the work of the intelligence of Christianity, its historical development, its consistency and the meaning that it brings to the great human questions and objectively to describe religious facts by inviting constructive and committed reflection on the meaning of the purpose of every human being and Christians in the Church and the world today. Pupils are thus offered the conditions that permit them freely and in full possession of the facts to find their place in the context of Christianity.
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