Mission Statement

Research and Development

In its function as a „Protestant Centre for Research and Development in Education“, the Comenius-Institut aims to promote both the theoretical understanding of and practical solutions to the current challenges in education faced by Church, school and society, grounded in its understanding of Protestant responsibility in these fields.

Research

The Comenius-Institut addresses topics located at the nexus of theology and education, academic and public discourse, practice and politics, Church and school.
Its purpose is to examine fundamental questions underlying the stewardship of the Protestant Churches towards education, to build the basis for a dialogue between the various stakeholders in education, to provide counselling and coordination and to facilitate networking. In all these activities, it combines the provision of applicable knowledge and policy advice in general and religious education with the collection and analysis of practical experience through its research and development efforts.
Our Institute further offers various library and documentation services in religious education, parish education, theology and pedagogic. It is serving as a key link between our customer libraries and modern library development and database-provider.

The Comenius-Institut researches on fundamental questions in education through empirical, systematic and historical studies and research projects on issues such as:

  • Stewardship for education on the basis of Protestantism,
  • Religious learning and socialisation of children and young people,
  • Professional biographies and competences of religious education teachers,
  • Confirmation education,
  • School development,
  • Comparative studies of religious education in Europe and
    Ecumenical, interreligious, intercultural and global learning.

Academic Project Consultation and Management

The Comenius-Institut initiates, consults on and accompanies model and experimental projects in parishes, associations, Churches, institutions of religious education, Protestant Universities of Applied Sciences and schools. These projects include:

  • Modeling competences for religious education as a school subject,
  • Developing the programmes of Protestant schools,
  • Developing concepts for confirmation education,
  • Developing parish work with children and young people,
  • Developing concepts and models for the initial and in-service training of religious education teachers and educational staff at parish level,
  • Working on the educational aspects of parish activities,
  • Developing models and concepts of ecumenical, gender-balanced and intercultural learning

Consulting

The Comenius-Institut consults Church institutions and associations as well as researchers and practitioners in education. It organises consultation processes and provides contacts and forums for mutual exchanges among theologians, religious educators, education scientists, academic, Church and state institutions dedicated to education, and professional associations.

This is effected especially by:

  • Consultations, conferences and expert round-table discussions e.g. on integrative education for people with special needs, the development of religious education in schools, teacher training in Church institutions, the methodology of empirical research in these fields etc.,
  • The publication of practice-oriented texts e.g. on education in day care, confirmation education, coeducation in school and Church classrooms, pastoral care in schools, mentoring in teacher training etc.,
  • The coordination and publication of handbooks on e.g. working with children, confirmation preparation, religious education in vocational schools, Protestant schools, interreligious learning, integrative religious education etc.

Networking

The Comenius-Institut integrates its activities into a broad-based cooperation with expert organisations, professional associations, and academic institutions at the national and international level, Churches and Church institutions.

It contributes to the nationwide provision of expert information and the development of expertises and memoranda on educational matters by the EKD (Evangelical Church of Germany).

The staff of the Comenius-Institut is involved in teacher training, the training of parish educational staff and pastors, and teaching at universities.

Documentation Services

The Comenius-Institut regularly publishes overviews of current publications in its field and offers the following databases:

An annual bibliography on religious education (Religionspaedagogische Jahresbibliographie), documenting all academic publications in the field, the Birkacher Modelldatei documenting teaching methods and materials for religious education in schools and parishes, development policy education, reviews of current publications and journal articles, documentations of the minutes of Synods, or curricula, religious education schoolbooks etc.

All publications on religious education in German are catalogued and made available. Bibliographic services are also available for the fields of theology and educational science.

The bibliographic data are available online and on CD-ROM. The Information, Documentation and Library department cooperates closely with the Fachinformationssystem Bildung (FIS Bildung), a cooperative network of education-oriented academic libraries and leading research institutions.
It manages the joint catalogue system for the libraries of religious education institutes of all member Churches of the EKD (ALPIKA) and offers further services for libraries.

Structure and Organisation

The Comenius-Institut was founded by the associations of Protestant teachers and educators in cooperation with the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD). It was registered as a non-profit association in Muenster/Westfalen in 1954.

The Institute is mainly funded by its members, the EKD, its member Churches, and teachers' and educators' associations.

The General Assembly consists of representatives of the 22 Protestant Churches in Germany, the EKD, and 16 Protestant associations of teachers, educators and schools. The Institute is accountable to it in its efforts, and the assembly decides on future projects.

The General Assembly nominates the Executive Board which is composed of representatives of the Churches, associations and the EKD as well as academic professionals from educational science, theology and religious education. Its members are unpaid. They select from amongst themselves the Chair of the board and the chief executive.

Alongside funding from the member Churches, the Institute receives funding from other parties and generates its own revenues. 

The national and Europe-wide efforts of the Comenius-Institut are undertaken by three Departments, two interdivisional projects, ten areas of responsibilities:

  • Department I: Services
  • Department II: Education in Church and Society (with areas of responsibilities)
  • Department III: Education in the context of Schooling (with areas of responsibilities)
  • two specialized and actual thematic units, that vary from time to time

The Institute currently cooperates with the Project "Arbeitsstelle Globales Lernen an Evangelischen Hochschulen (AGLEH)" whose research topic is the Gobal Learning at Protestant Universities.

The Department for Research and Development of Protestant Schools (Wissenschaftliche Arbeitsstelle Evangelische Schule WAES) cooperates closely with the Institute.

Head of the Institute is Dr. Peter Schreiner, the Chair of the Executive Committee is Prof. Friedrich Schweitzer.

Fach- und Arbeitsstellen des Comenius Instituts

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