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Warsaw. Fewer students attend religion classes. School year 2023/2024

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The capital city hall conducted a survey on the number of students attending religion and ethics classes in institutions supervised by the city. This school year, 42 percent of male and female students enrolled in religious studies. A year earlier it was 45 percent.

As the spokesman for the capital’s city hall told us, similarly to previous years, this year the officials conducted a survey on “the number of students attending religion and ethics classes in institutions supervised by the capital city of Warsaw.”

– The study covered 791 facilities. The study was conducted at the end of October 2023 using a survey system, explained Jakub Leduchowski. According to city hall calculations based on surveys, in the 2023/2024 school year, on average, 42 percent of over 271,000 students attend religion classes. Last school year, that percentage was 45 percent.

Leduchowski also described the data broken down into individual types of facilities. Religion classes attended by:

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in kindergartens – 11 percent primary school students – 65 percent students of general secondary schools – 27 percent technical students – 21 percent students from first-cycle vocational schools – 18 percent students special school preparing for work – 83 percent students.

– Nearly 10 percent of students are attending ethics classes this school year, compared to 9 percent last year. In nearly 20 percent of all branches in the surveyed institutions, religious classes are not conducted due to lack of volunteers – a spokesman for the city hall told us.

The data was also summarized on her social media by the vice-president of Warsaw, Renata Kaznowska, who is responsible for, among others, for education. As she noted, the data shows a year-on-year decline of 3 percent. The largest, 5-percent drop, was recorded in first-degree vocational schools (from 23 percent last school year to 18 percent declaring participation in religious education classes this school year).

The councilor wants to reduce the number of religious hours

In September, Agata Diduszko-Zyglewska, an unaffiliated councilor from the capital, prepared an interpellation in which she asked the city about the possibility of reducing the number of optional religious classes in schools from two lessons to one per week and including them in the after-school schedule.

The councilor noted that in connection with the so-called double age group in secondary schools, many students face the problem of overcrowding and the resulting lowering of teaching standards.

“As parents of many students inform me, in some schools, optional religious classes are still placed in the middle of the lesson plan, and what’s more, they are conducted two hours a week. This means that rooms that should be used primarily to implement the school curriculum are hours optimal for learning, taken up in the amount of several dozen hours a week for non-compulsory classes attended by a minority of students,” we read in the interpellation.

Diduszko-Zyglewska appealed to recommend school principals to reduce the number of optional religious classes per week to one hour and to support them with the diocesan bishop, whose consent is required. The councilor also called for collecting data on this year’s earnings of catechists in individual schools “in the context of the underfinanced education budget.” According to her, this knowledge could help parents decide whether it makes sense to send their children to religious education.

The town hall intervened with the bishops

Vice-President Renata Kaznowska replied to the councilor. As she noted, “reducing the number of hours of religion classes in schools is an individual matter for each institution.” She also reminded that, according to the regulations, reducing the number of hours by a director or headmistress must be preceded by the consent of the diocesan bishop of the Catholic Church or the superior authorities of other churches.

“On July 20, 2023, I asked Cardinal Kazimierz Nycz, Metropolitan of Warsaw and Father Romuald Kamiński, Bishop of the Warsaw-Prague Diocese, to positively consider the applications of directors of Warsaw schools, especially when it comes to post-primary schools, which in the 2023/2024 school year adopted cumulative as a result of the reform of Minister Anna Zalewska, one and a half years of students. The Office of the Capital City of Warsaw received a letter from the Department of Children and Youth Ministry of the Warsaw Metropolitan Curia, which shows that the Curia receives applications from schools and each is considered individually, taking into account the situation of the institution” – said the vice president.

Kaznowska also assured that school principals are preparing annexes to the organization sheets of the 2023/2024 school year, introducing current data on the employment of teachers in schools. “After they are reviewed by the education superintendent and approved by district mayors, we will be able to provide information on the remuneration of catechists in 2023,” she concluded.

Main photo source: TVN24

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