The identity of religious schools in a democratic society

Enrique Gervilla Castillo

Multiple Christian religious schools were founded in Europe and particularly Catholic schools in Spain to solve educational lacks and to transmit the message of the Gospel to the poorest. In our present days, State schools provide education for all, and it happens that a significant number of students coming from middle and high class backgrounds, go to religious schools, which seems to be uncongenial to the intention of their founders.
This change of circumstances leads us to question the sense and existence of such religious education in our societies. Nevertheless, they can be justified in terms of freedom of teaching, and as a demand of a large number of people in almost any democratic society.
Having this in mind, religious schools must keep and reinforce their peculiar identity, which makes them different from other educational models, by means of the ideology, the experience of the evangelical values and the way to be and to do of the teachers. However, recent researchs have shown the great weakness of such identity and, in consequence, reflection and innovation on the part of the schools Governing Bodies are demanded.

 

Key Words: Identity, the poor, religious and faith schools, democracy, freedom of education, Catholic schools.