The European Convention on Human Rights guarantees freedom of education, including the opportunities to create and operate faith-based schools. However, as European societies become more religiously diverse and ‘less religious’ at the same time, the role of faith-based schools is increasingly being contested. Serious tensions have emerged between those who ardently support religious schools in their various forms, and those who oppose them. Given that faith-based schools enjoy basic constitutional guarantees in Europe, the controversy around them often surrounds issues of public financing, degrees of organisational and pedagogical autonomy, and educational practices and management.
This volume is about the controversies surrounding religious schools in a number of Western European countries. The introductory chapter briefly analyses the structural pressures that affect the position of religious schools, outlining the relevant institutional arrangements in countries such as Denmark, Germany, France, Ireland, the Netherlands, and Scotland. The following chapters provide a detailed analysis of the discussions and controversies surrounding faith-based schools in each country. Finally, the two concluding chapters aim to provide a bigger, comparative picture with regard to these debates about religious education in liberal democratic states and culturally pluralist societies. This book was originally published as a special issue of Comparative Education.
1. Non-governmental religious schools in Europe: institutional opportunities, associational freedoms, and contemporary challenges
Marcel Maussen and Veit Bader
2. The Danish free school tradition under pressure
Tore Vincents Olsen
3. Non-governmental religious schools in Germany – increasing demand by decreasing religiosity?
4. The national management of public and Catholic schools in France: moving from a loosely coupled towards an integrated system?
Xavier Pons, Agnès van Zanten & Sylvie Da Costa
5. Religion and education in Ireland: growing diversity – or losing faith in the system?
Nathalie Rougier & Iseult Honohan
6. Liberal equality and toleration for conservative religious minorities. Decreasing opportunities for religious schools in the Netherlands?
Marcel Maussen & Floris Vermeulen
7. The continued existence of state-funded Catholics schools in Scotland
Stephen J. McKinney & James C. Conroy
8. What can international comparisons teach us about school choice and nongovernmental schools in Europe?
9. The conundrum of religious schools in twenty-first-century Europe