Suomen uskonnonopettajain liitto ry

Religious Education in schools

Religious Education is a compulsory subject both in comprehensive schools (7 – 16 years) and in senior / upper secondary schools (16 – 18 / 19 years). Pupils who do not belong to any religious group can choose between Religious Education or secular Ethics.

- Religious Education in schools is non-confessional, informative education offered by the society, the objectives and contents of which differ clearly from the religious education offered by religious communities.
- The objective of Religious Education in schools is to obtain a broad and diverse general education regarding religions and world views.
- The objective is accomplished through getting familiar with ones own cultural heritage and other world views and by developing an ethically responsible attitude in life.
- Religious Education helps understand the meaning of religion to an individual, and to understand effects of religion in local, national and global communities.
- Living and working in a multicultural society requires knowledge of ones own context and of the diverse cultures and religions that coexist in the society. Religious Education provides the information and skills necessary for interreligious dialogue and understanding.
- According to studies, Finnish people appreciate unbiased Religious Education.


Religious Education in accordance with ones own religion

Religious Education (RE) in Finland is non-confessional. Pupils and students receive RE according to their own religion, if the denomination is registered in Finland. (A 15-year-old child can decide his or her own religion / denomination with the permission of parents.) It means that the contents of RE in each religion are based on that particular religion, but other religions and world views are studied as well. Teachers do not have to belong to any denomination and teacher education takes place in universities. In Finland 74% of the population are members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church ( Education in other religions is organized when there is a minimum of three pupils who belong to that specific denomination.

 - A child's right to religious education is stated in many international declarations.

- The objectives and contents of teaching RE are described at national level in the National Core Curriculum for Basic Education and the National Core Curriculum for Upper Secondary Schools.

- In 2012 91,9% of pupils in comprehensive school took part in Evangelical-Lutheran RE, 1,4% in Orthodox, 1,5% in Islam, 0,5% in other religions ja 4% in secular Ethics.
- The Evangelical-Lutheran RE as the majority education is open to all pupils and students and many non-Lutheran pupils participate in Evangelical-Lutheran RE. It is sometimes called ”general RE”.
- National Framework Curricula for RE is written for Evangelical Lutheran, Orthodox, Catholic, Islamic, Jewish, Buddhist, Christian Community, Latter Day Saint, Free Church, Adventist, Baha'ì, Hare Krishna and Herran kansa ry religious education. If there is no curriculum for some registered religion, the national board of education cooperates with the religion in order to compose it.


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