Protestant Schools between equity and social distinction – Researchers from all over the world gather for an international symposium

Protestant Schools between equity and social distinction – Researchers from all over the world gather for an international symposium

“Protestant schooling in a global perspective – contribution to equity or social distinction?”; this question attracted researchers from eleven countries to the international symposium in Bamberg from December 12 to 14, 2019. They accepted the invitation of GPENreformation council member Prof. Dr. Annette Scheunpflug (Chair for General Pedagogy) and Prof. Dr. Henrik Simojoki (Chair for Protestant Theology with focus on religious education) of the Otto-Friedrich-University Bamberg. Because: Even if statistics and research results are available in some countries, there is so far a lack of a global – quantitative as well as qualitative – consideration of Protestant education that would allow a common statement on the recurring accusation of exclusive “private” education at Christian schools.

Reports from Cameroon, the DR Congo, Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands, Rwanda, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, Tanzania and the USA, as well as a contribution from a Catholic perspective, made international rapprochement possible – and showed in particular the diversity of Protestant school education. The relationship between church, state and school varies greatly and the role of Christian schools in society ranges from providing education for all to the targeted support of specific groups of students. Accordingly, examples can be found where Protestant school education emphasizes differences, as well as ample evidence that Christian schools make an important contribution to social equity.

Now, of course, researchers wouldn’t be researchers if they were satisfied with this finding. For this reason, the participants of the symposium continued to identify the framework needed to investigate the question of equity or social differences through Protestant school education in a well-founded and global perspective:

Adequate reflection and research on social equity in Protestant schools needs…

…contextual and intercontextual understanding (with regard to the path dependency of Protestant school education in today’s world; context analyses must be framed intercontextually).

…conceptual underpinning and empirical research (national and international; in particular, theological, pedagogical and philosophical underpinning as well as historical, empirical, comparative and transnational research is needed).

… taking action and school development at local, transnational and global level.

(after Simojoki 2019)

And this is only the beginning: In order to continue and deepen the cooperation that has already begun, Prof. Dr. John Choi (Handong Global University, South Korea) invited to South Korea for a next meeting in 2022. We are curious!