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Theme: The Catholic school and the intercultural and interreligious challenges
Participation from UCESM: sr. Marjolein

On 14 and 15 March, the European Committee for Catholic Education (CEEC) organized an international symposium in Brussels.
The free movement of people, the globalization of the economy and the recent migratory waves, in particular, have diversified the populations of the various European states and societies. These developments have also been reflected in schools.
As there are more than 35,000 Catholic schools in Europe which contribute to the education and formation of some 8.5 million pupils, these facts also changed the composition of them. This situation has become increasingly important in different countries. Today, many Catholic schools welcome more diverse populations than yesterday, both by the culture of origin and the religious affiliation of their pupils and sometimes their teachers.
Since about five years, the CEEC has been working to objectify these situations, country by country, and to identify how actors have adjusted their reflections and practices to take them into account. The symposium helped to better understand, in particular through testimonies from various leading speakers from all over Europe (Albania, Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Austria, UK, Bosnia-Herzegovina), the diversification of the population of Catholic schools and highlighted new practices and new approaches.
Almost everywhere we are working on a culturally plausible and theologically responsible way of recontextualizing the identity to a Catholic dialogue school.
Characteristics include among others: attention to the individual child, cooperation with the parents, raising to free people. It is not the intention to remove the Catholicity from the school, but not to consider it as only sanctifying, and to treat other religions in an equal way. This requires an intelligent and empathetic way of education.
That this form of Catholic education is a good one, was the general opinion. But also, that we are still far from the goal.

If you want to know more about the Catholic dialogue school, please follow this link