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The school as a prerequisite for an inclusive and respectful society

December 17, 2018

The school as a prerequisite for an inclusive and respectful society

The example of the Latin Patriarchate Schools

By Francesco Cavalluzzo

 

The Latin Patriarchate Schools – LPS have been set up since 1847, when Pope Pius IX reestablished the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem. In 1854, the Patriarch at the time H.B. Valerga founded the first educational institution under the supervision of the Latin Patriarchate, the Beit Jala institute. In the 1866, the institute of Al-Salt in Jordan was established. The main goals of the Latin Patriarchate Schools were to uphold the Christian community in the Holy Land in order to avert a likely isolation of the Christian and to spread the word of the Lord.

Since 1854, the Latin Patriarchate Schools faced a constant development and they increased either their capacity or the quality of the services that they provided to their students. Today the Schools of the Latin Patriarchate are 44 along the Israeli, Palestinian and Jordanian territories. Roughly 20.000 students, both female and male, study at the Schools of the Patriarchate. Thus, since 1854, the LPS have spread throughout the Holy Land and they have worked alongside the Catholic Church in upholding the goal to promote and improve the qualitative life standards of the Christian local community and the society as a whole.

The Latin Patriarchate Schools do not confine their educative contribution to the religious dimension, but they are focused on a complete education of the person as such, regardless of their faith or religious belief. The latter is highlighted by the significant number of Muslim students in the LPS. In many of them the number of Muslim students is more than the number of the Christian colleagues. For instance, in the LPS in Palestine the total amount of the Muslim students is 63% against the remaining 37% of the Christian students. In some cases, such ad in Nablus, Jenin and Gaza Schools, the number of Muslim students represents almost the 90% of the whole students.

These data show how the Latin Patriarchate Schools are opened to the students of different faiths and how they are not only focused on the religious dimension, but on a complete education. In fact it is worth noting that the Schools of the Latin Patriarchate are aimed at promoting the person as a whole relying on ethical, moral and religious principles and at supporting either material or spiritual individual aspects. Therefore, through its pedagogical process, the Schools pursue the triple objective of serving the Catholic Church creed, assuring the cooperation among Christians of different churches, promoting the coexistence between Christians and Muslims.

The LPS openness towards students of different creeds, helps to create solidarity bridge among them enhancing their mutual comprehension and respect. This is one of the most important aspect of the educational process upon which the pedagogical structure of the Latin Patriarchate Schools is built up. In fact the openness of the LPS teaches the students how to respect each other and it establishes a school environment shaped by the tolerance.

Practically the Schools of the Latin Patriarchate foresee on one hand hours of religious teaching both for Muslim and Christian students and on the other they carry out workshops on themes such as dialogue, comprehension and coexistence where all the students participate. In fact although catholic education is a pillar of the Latin Schools, teaching of other faiths receives great attention. In doing so, students of different faiths deepen the knowledge of their faith and enhance the respect of the others.

Thus, the Latin Patriarchate Schools are focused on the creation of a school environment free from extremisms in which students can confront and understand each other. Along this contest, the Schools of the Patriarchate mean to educate the children to the social life, to give them an ethical attitude at the decision process, to help them at increasing their religious faith and to shape good citizens.

The Latin Patriarchate Schools example shows  how in a multi-religious society is very important to create a school environment where students can confront and learn from each other.  Today’s students will be the leaders of tomorrow and a school that raises awareness on dialogue and respect will contribute to the creation of a more open and inclusive society. This is the main lesson of the Latin Schools and it is thought that their model of education could be exported abroad. In fact this model could be an example in those territories that are facing a growing internal heterogeneity due, in particular, to the increasing number of the non-Christian members.

In conclusion, the Latin Schools show how the openness towards the other is the mean to face the extremism and to ensure the integration of different socio-religious groups in a single peaceful and harmonious social structure.

© Latin Patriarchate Schools 2019