Secular education is any educational model that is not based on religious precepts, nor is it associated with any particular church . It is the exact opposite of religious education, in the sense that it does not deal with spiritual or theological issues, but deals with a modern, scientific and rationalist formation .
This does not mean that secular education teaches young people to be agnostics or atheists, or that it contradicts the moral precepts that come from a culture‘s religious tradition. Rather, secular education does not adhere to any religious or mystical perspective, leaving these matters to the privacy of each person and dealing rather with the mundane aspects of existence, that is, the material and sensible world.
Secular education is typical of modern and secular states, in which church and state occupy different sociopolitical spheres. This type of educational system is historically due to the philosophical current of liberalism , and its implementation throughout the 19th century was often the subject of controversy and dilemmas with the conservative sectors of society, who viewed the loss of political power with bad eyes. and social of the church in their nations.
Characteristics of secular education
In general terms, secular education is characterized by:
- Not dealing with matters that concern faith and religious dogma , and lacking a mystical or religious perspective regarding the rest of the teaching topics .
- Approach teaching from a modern point of view : democratic, secular, rational and scientific.
- Not be in the hands of any religious group or church, but be regulated by the educational laws of the State , both in private and public institutions .
- Avoid all forms of ethnic, religious, political, sexual and gender discrimination within its academic community.
- Be free and compulsory at its basic level , in secular countries. It can also be private.
Differences between secular education and religious education
The main differences between secular education and religious education can be stated as follows:
|secular education||Religious education|
|It is taught according to the educational laws of the State, and therefore its contents are decided by specialized pedagogical institutions and civil society itself.||It is taught according to mystical or religious tradition and sacred texts, often according to the precepts of a specific monastic order.|
|It addresses the contents necessary for mundane life from a secular perspective, without delving into matters of faith.||It addresses the contents necessary for mundane life from a religious perspective, as well as the contents of faith.|
|It does not defend or attack any religion, nor does it actively promote spiritual values. Their moral values are those of civil society.||He promotes and defends the spiritual and moral values of his doctrine, often condemning those belonging to different creeds and cultures.|
|In secular countries it is free and compulsory at its basic level, dependent on public resources. It can also be private.||It is generally private, although it can also be taught under public or semi-public schemes, especially in denominational nations.|
Secular education is a vital instrument for the construction and support of the modern State, since in it the democratic, cosmopolitan and universal values of the modern world are imparted to the citizen , emphasizing the rational, empirical and scientific view, and leaving the issues of faith, the mystical and the supernatural to the free will of each one.
In addition, the transition towards secular education implied, in the history of the West, subtracting an important share of power from Christian institutions and handing it over to the State, so that it could follow the design of the majority and not a specific cultural tradition. The latter was especially important in multinational countries or the result of complex colonization and miscegenation processes , since it allowed an educational model in which their different identities, heritages, and traditions were recognized and validated.