Germany Seeks More Christian Schools

The increased demand for entry into Germany's nearly 2,000 Christian schools, can be attributed to several factors, including families' desires for a better education, according to a key evangelical leader in the nation.

Jurgen Frank, the head of education for the Evangelical Church of Germany has three main reasons for the increased demand.

"Firstly, families are generally smaller and parents want to provide their children with a good education. Secondly, they want the education their children receive to meet their individual needs, and thirdly they want a progressive, modern education, system," Frank said, according to report by Deutsche Welle.

One parent, Christoph Hermann, says that Christianity was a part of his upbringing, and added that he sends his son to an Evangelical school because he doesn't want his son to misunderstand Christianity as being "fundamental."

"We live in an increasingly secular society and I don't want him to grow up seeing Christianity as something fundamental because he hasn't been exposed to it in an everyday kind of way," Hermann said.

In Germany, Christian schools are required to adhere to the same curricular options as state run schools. The only difference is that in addition, religious education is required for two hours every week.

According to Deutsche Welle, since the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989, the ECG has approved the construction of 70 new evangelical schools, with 50 more that are currently waiting.

Frank added that a study by the ECG following a recent student assessment report showed that "...the educational climate at Christian schools is better than in state schools, and that the quality on offer at demoninational schools genuinely does live up to its reputation," he said.

The background of students in Christian schools varies by denomination according to the ECG. Catholic schools have emphasized "accepting children who are being brought up within the framework of the faith," while the Evangelical Church is more relaxed in its requirements, hoping to achieve a "good social mix."

Most new school projects are initiated by concerned parents who trust the good educational reputation of Christian schools, according to Deutsche Welle. However there are obstacles to starting new schools.

Recently, the ECG had been giving out grants to help new schools get off the ground until they could support themselves, However, the money available for the projects is decreasing and it's difficult to support everything.

Although parents are expected to contribute monthly fees, many who can't pay are exempted. Frank believes that parents are spending much more on entertainment than school.

"It's horrifying how little people are prepared to invest in learning," he said. "They spend ten times more on entertainment than they do on education."