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Luxembourg to phase out faith-based education in favour of inclusive citizenship lessons

Luxembourg is to replace faith-based religious education in schools in favour of inclusive ‘life and society’ classes. The Education Ministry announced the phasing out of faith-based education in July, as part of its formal process of separation between church and state which was announced in 2015 and which is expected to take place over the next two decades. Humanists UK hopes that the Governments of the UK will look to Luxembourg as an example of how religious education can be reformed to be an inclusive, impartial, and balanced subject in all schools.

Previously religious education in Luxembourg schools has been instructional; encouraging children to participate in Catholic worship and preparing children to take their first communion. Schools will no longer provide such classes. Parents wishing to instruct their children in religious ceremonies can do so within the church institutions outside of school hours.

The Education Ministry stated that the new classes were intended to transform schools into places of equality, where children learn to respect each other and other viewpoints and with an increased emphasis on coexistence among diverse groups.

The announcement of the removal of religious education in schools is one of a series of measures undertaken by the current Luxembourg administration to separate religion and government in the country. Previous measures include the restructuring and removing of government funding of churches.

Humanists UK Education Campaigns Manager Jay Harman commented, ‘Humanists UK welcomes the approach taken by the Education Ministry in Luxembourg. It is vital to a child’s understanding and ability to challenge prejudice that they are exposed to an objective, balanced and inclusive curriculum, including about different religions and humanism. This cannot be achieved through an instructional and confessional religious curriculum, which teaches and privileges only Catholic religious views.

‘Humanists UK has campaigned for a number of years for a similar approach to be taken in UK schools, where humanism is taught alongside different religions and acts of collective worship are replaced with inclusive assemblies.’

Notes

For further comment or information please contact Humanist UK Education Campaigner Jay Harman on jay@humanism.org.uk or 07970 393 680.

Read more about Humanists UK’s work on RE: https://humanism.org.uk/campaigns/schools-and-education/school-curriculum/religious-education/

At Humanists UK, we advance free thinking and promote humanism to create a tolerant society where rational thinking and kindness prevail. Our work brings non-religious people together to develop their own views, helping people be happier and more fulfilled in the one life we have. Through our ceremonies, education services, and community and campaigning work, we strive to create a fair and equal society for all.

Humanists UK recently changed its name from the British Humanist Association: https://humanism.org.uk/2017/05/22/bha-becomes-humanists-uk/

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