The Ecole pratique des hautes études (EPHE) is a leading institution of higher education and research, which provides highly specialized practical training in basic and applied research in a wide range of disciplines. The Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes was established by imperial decree in 1868. It is headquartered in Paris and is present in many locations in France. The School brings together 240 faculty members and about 3,000 students and non-degree students into three core “Sections” : Earth and Life Sciences; Historical and Philological Sciences; Religious Sciences.
The Institut Européen en Sciences des Religions (IESR) was established in 2002 as an institute within the École Pratique des Hautes Études (EPHE). Its mission is to be a centre of expertise and advice on current and historical issues involving laïcité/secularity and religious questions. It is conducted under charter oversight by the French Minister for Higher Education and Research.
As a place for training on secularity and religion, IESR provides key support in the provision of teaching about religions in primary and secondary schools. In collaboration with the French Ministry of National Education, universities and teacher training schools, as well as education inspectorates, IESR organizes initial and ongoing training programs for National education personnel. The training programs, which are conducted in a secular framework, assist in adapting teaching methods to varying subjects where religions are discussed (History, Geography, French, Foreign Languages, Philosophy, Social and Economic Sciences, Art class, History of the Arts).
Moreover, IESR deals with all issues involving religion in public service and professional life. For this purpose, it collaborates with a number of public bodies to carry out its mission. These include government ministries such as Foreign Affairs, Culture, Interior, Justice, and Labor-Employment-Health, as well as State cultural organizations such as different museums or the National Library.
IESR assists all professionals who work with issues involving religion and secularity, and offers adapted training in this regard.
IESR also directs a post-graduate course of studies at the EPHE titled “Religions and secularity in professional and community life”, which examines the topic from the socio-educational, political, legal, medico-social and cultural perspectives. This vocational course is offered under the EPHE’s Master degree program in the subject of Religious Sciences and Society, and is open to all professionals requiring initial or ongoing training in dealing with religious issues.
As a centre of expertise and resources IESR conducts targeted research and analyses how teaching about religions is being implemented in France and Europe by examining case situations, practices, issues and debates.
Finally, as a European observatory on secularity and religion, IESR has put in place a European network to study and compare developments in legislation and public practices involving religion within Europe, with an emphasis on teaching and education. Through this network, IESR participated in the multilateral research program on Religion and Education in Europe, known as the REDCo project, which associated universities in eight European countries.
École pratique des hautes études
Director of IESR
EPHE, 4-14 rue Ferrus
75014 Paris, France
Phone: +33 153636196
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