Addressing Diversity and Individualism: The Contribution of Catholic Religious Education to the Educational Project of Catholic Schools in the Netherlands

  • Theo van der ZeeEmail author


Societal trends towards diversity and individualism call for a re-evaluation of Catholic Religious Education. However, in practice we see that Catholic schools have difficulty achieving this. This chapter reports about an educational design research to find out what Catholic schools take their educational project to be and the contribution of Catholic Religious Education to it. Two Catholic secondary schools in the Netherlands participated in the research. This qualitative study employed two research methods to ascertain the relevant data. It used semi-structured interviews with staff members as well as focus group discussions involving staff members, students and parents.

The findings show that one school understands religious education as contributing to the Catholic educational project in terms of offering depth and orientation, while the other did not seem able to show the contribution. At both schools teachers and other staff appear rarely to link the educational project and the contribution of religious education to it explicitly with the Catholic tradition. Findings are discussed with a view to Catholic schools being able to respond to the challenges posed by today’s world, particularly those of diversity and individualism.


Participatory Approach Religious Education Religious Diversity Catholic School Educational Project 
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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Philosophy, Theology and Religious StudiesRadboud UniversityNijmegenThe Netherlands

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