Religious Education

Religious Education (RE) is a regular school subject in Germany, based on legal agreements between the federal States and the Churches and religious communities. RE is organised in separate faith groups according to the pupils’ confession, mainly Protestant or Catholic, in some areas Christian Orthodox, Islamic and Jewish. Protestant RE is defined through its confessional content and the religious affiliation of the teachers, but is open to pupils of all religious backgrounds.

The Comenius-Institut is contributing to research, development, and networking in RE in elementary, primary, and secondary education. Qualitative methods of classroom research have been piloted (Religionsunterricht erforschen). A study on religious education in primary classrooms via video-taping is shortly to be published (KIR Project).

Recently, educational standards and religious competences to be taught in secondary education have been formulated (Grundlegende Kompetenzen religioeser Bildung). An implementation study on competence-oriented RE teachers will provide direction and impetus to further research (KompRU).

The European project REDCo, the first substantial research project on religion and education financed by the European Commission (2006-2009) has published Policy recommendations based on key research findings. REDCo (Religion in Education. A contribution to Dialogue or a factor of Conflict in transforming societies of European Countries) has carried out qualitative and quantitative research in eight countries, mainly focusing on religion in the lives and schooling of students in the 14-16 age group.
The Policy recommendations address different national contexts as well as the European level.
The Comenius-Institut has provided the database for the project and took part in the advisory group.

Current papers:

Peter Schreiner: Religious Education in Europe - Situation and Developments (March 2009) Link to open access document

Dietlind Fischer, Andreas Feindt:
Broadening Perspectives on Teaching towards Competencies - Religious Education as an Example (September 2008)

Annebelle Pithan: Doing Gender in Written Material and Text Books for Religious Education (July 2008) Link to the open access document

Peter Schreiner, Astrid Dinter:
Science and Religion in Schools: A German and World Wide Perspective (March 2008) Link to further information

Dietlind Fischer: Biography and Religion of RE-Teachers: Results of an empirical study, 2004

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