Religious Education in Brazil: An Overview of Pedagogical Developments

  • Sérgio Rogério Azevedo JunqueiraEmail author


In 1996, Brazil enacted a law to reform the educational system, requiring a reorganisation of all curricula, including that for religious education. The new curricula should aim at ensuring that students master their own language, appreciate the religious phenomena of their country and learn to construct arguments so that they become able to propose ideas logically in the most diverse situations. Educational institutions must ensure access to socially constructed knowledge and provide opportunities for socialisation and for students to experience democratic citizenship. Students should become able to refute or reshape fossilised knowledge that may have been distorted through dogmatism. The search for the formation of a national commitment towards these objectives permeates the whole school curricula. Reflection on this pedagogical development has boosted the drive towards a fresh orientation of the religious education curriculum.

Many teachers and specialists collaborated to articulate a pedagogical proposal for the religious education curriculum to make it as compatible as possible with the new national requirements. The debate is still ongoing, and researchers are still struggling to address the several remaining gaps. The main existing document, ‘The curriculum parameters for Religious Education’ (1996), has not as yet been officially recognised by the Ministry of Education and Sport. However, the document is used unofficially by state education officials to guide meetings, programmes and teacher training. Unofficial recognition of the model proposed in the document is also evidenced in the ‘Guidelines for Teacher Training’ (1998) used by higher education institutions to structure their teacher training courses. These two documents led to the establishment of a phenomenological model for religious education that is used in many Catholic schools in the country.


Religious Tradition Religious Experience Religious Education Catholic School Religious Freedom 
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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Theology ProgramPontifical Catholic University of ParanáCuritibaBrazil

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