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Religious instruction in state schools

In Germany, there is a strong State presence in the educational system. According to the Constitution, state schools are the rule while private schools are considered exceptions (art. 7 (4 and 5) GG). That is why there are fewer private confessional schools in Germany than in other countries, like France for example. Private elementary schools are only permitted if there are specific religious or ideological requirements and if a corresponding public school does not already exist.

In state schools, the members of religious communities have the right to participate in religious instruction and the content is the responsibility of the religious communities (art. 7 (3) GG). Religious instruction is a part of the regular school curriculum. Exceptions exist for the Bremen and Berlin Länder(article 141 GG) as well as for several state schools that are explicitly non-confessional and secular.

The decision regarding the participation in religious instruction is the responsibility of the parents, and after the age of 14 the students themselves may make this decision (article 7 (2) GG).

D 19 July 2012    AMichael Heinig

CNRS Unistra Dres Gsrl

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