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ERIC Number: EJ1150161
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0141-6200
Country Report: Belgium-Flemish Community
Franken, Leni
British Journal of Religious Education, v39 n3 p234-239 2017
In the federal state of Belgium, education is, since the constitutional amendment of 1988, organised in an autonomous way by the Flemish, French and German Communities. Within each Community, there are different kinds of schools: "private" (but state funded) schools, which are mainly, but not exclusively, Catholic, and "official" or state schools, which can be divided into community schools, municipal schools, urban schools and provincial schools. This "pillarized" education model is the result of a long school battle between Catholics on one hand, and liberals, socialists and free-thinking humanists on the other: the former defending a private, but state-funded, Catholic education system; the latter defending "neutral" education, both established and funded by the state. In 1958, a historical compromise was reached with the schoolpact and in 1959, this compromise was sealed in the "schoolpact law", which guarantees financial support for private (mainly Catholic) schools on one hand, and a choice of education in recognised religions and in non-confessional ethics in official (state) schools on the other. Up until today, the subsidised Catholic school network, in which more than 60% of all students are enrolled, is still the largest provider of education in Belgium and particularly in the Flemish Community, where 62% of all primary and 75% of all secondary schools are private--mainly Catholic--schools, with a similar percentage of students. This article delves into the "Catholic" identity of the Catholic schools, which was a few decades ago a decisive factor in the school choice and was one of the markers of the pillarised society, and now is for most parents no longer important. This is followed by a comparison with religious education in state schools--where students can choose between Roman Catholicism, Protestantism, Orthodox Christianity, Anglicanism, Islam, Judaism, and non-confessional ethics. A discussion on the current debates surrounding these "new" Catholic schools concludes the article.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Belgium
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A