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Education

Cantons regulate religious instruction

The Confederation’s Constitution is neutral on religious issues and guarantees the freedom of conscience and religious belief in its Article 15 (see the "main texts" sub-heading), principles which (...)

The Confederation’s Constitution is neutral on religious issues and guarantees the freedom of conscience and religious belief in its Article 15 (see the "main texts" sub-heading), principles which are consistent with the European Convention on Human Rights (art. 9). The regulation of the relationship between the Church and the State falls within the competence of the Cantons (art. 72 of the Constitution).

The regulation of education is also the responsibility of the Cantons. The law guarantees the participation of students of every creed and religion, including those who have no religion.

Private religious establishments are allowed as long as they follow the curriculum set by the Canton.

On religious instruction, the Federal Constitution grants the personal right to receive religious catechism (positive religious right) but also the right to discontinue (negative religious right, article 15). Every Canton regulates religious instruction in its own manner, with the more or less active participation of religious communities.

D 8 October 2012    AAnsgar Jödicke AKatharina Frank

Judicial precedents concerning religion and schools

Over the past few years, the Federal Court has taken several decisions following complaints related to religion and schools. In conformity with the principle of the State’s religious neutrality, (...)

Over the past few years, the Federal Court has taken several decisions following complaints related to religion and schools. In conformity with the principle of the State’s religious neutrality, schools no longer have the right to display crosses in their classrooms. This is to protect school children from the State’s influence on religious issues. Let us keep in mind that the age of religious majority is 16 years. In the same vein, the Federal Court banned a Muslim teacher from wearing the veil within the school’s premises (in Geneva). When the complaints concerned the students, the Federal Court ruled in favour of the students or parents. For instance, a female student in the Canton of Zurich obtained the right not to participate in swimming classes. Students are also accorded waivers not to attend school in order to participate in religious festivals.

D 8 October 2012    AAnsgar Jödicke AKatharina Frank

CNRS Unistra Dres Gsrl

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