Once again, there is another way of interpreting such statements which puts weight on intellectual rather than ethical ends. Zhdanov V. (2016) Religious Education as a Compulsory Subject in Russian Public Schools. One objection to the crude appeal is that it makes moral behaviour instrumental to one’s own self-interested aims of gaining advantage and avoiding distress. In some cases they may, let us allow, help moral backsliders to behave as they should. In what way could it be dependent? By r.e. Despite the clear evidence of increasing secularization, religious education (RE) is still a compulsory part of the curriculum in state schools in England and Wales. Whether this would leave religious education with a good case for remaining a separate curriculum subject is a further question. 5 Howick Place | London | SW1P 1WG. Is the weight strong enough to support religious education as a separate curriculum subject, with all the kudos that this brings with it? Should Non Believers Be Forced To Learn About Something They Dont Believe In? It is a means of proposing that people are different from each other and have different beliefs. bring in scientific and philosophical as well as ­religious perspectives. ‘Should RE be a compulsory school subject?’ British Journal of Religious Education Vol 26 No 2 Reprinted in Philosophy of Education II edited by Richard Smith Routledge, 2015. As Callum Brown has shown, it was during and just after the war that organized Christianity in Britain enjoyed something of a recovery. It is time for its protected status under the 1944 law to be removed. Religious education has no place as an independent subject, either as a vehicle of moral education or in order to promote an understanding of religions. On this reckoning, organized Christianity is likely to die out in Wales by around 2020; and in England by 2060. To learn about our use of cookies and how you can manage your cookie settings, please see our Cookie Policy. Suppose we apply this to keeping promises. It is not just a matter of understanding and respecting others’ views. What is statutory is that religious education should be taught; but its content is left to the framers of the Agreed Syllabuses. Others will urge them to put themselves in other people’s shoes: ‘How would you like it if someone was unkind to you?’ Or they may have some implicit belief that values like these are important for social harmony and cohesion. If religious education continues to have its traditional moral remit, there is a further danger of confusion, not now from within religious education itself, but as the result of conflicting messages reaching them from different parts of the curriculum—the suggestion of a linkage between morality and religion in one area, the absence of this in another. James Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man gives a graphic account of the hellish half of this from his own Catholic upbringing. If presented as mythology and made into a voluntary subject then by all means yes. They may be motivated by sympathy, loyalty or concern for the underprivileged. IF the government wants to make this country a Christian nation, then it should make religious education a compulsory subject from elementary to university level so we see better results after some years. A full historical treatment of that event would also have to lay great weight on the desire to move beyond denominational particularism in the provision of religious instruction (Niblett, 1966). Only a minority of the population live by these. This civic justification faded after the war, but even today one official justification of religious education is in terms of moral education. Pupils learn about religious and ethical teaching, enabling them to make reasoned and informed judgements on religious, moral and social issues. Also the reason for 6 weeks summer holidays originated because children were required to work on the land to bring in the harvest. Leaving Cox’s argument on one side, how can we justify moral claims—e.g. [11] OSCE, the Toledo Guiding Principles on Teaching [5] J. Both of these are heavily weighted towards moral/ethical learning, the former more in the personal domain, the latter in the civic. ? Lack of agreement among secular philosophers about the basis of morality should not be of much comfort, though, to those who believe morality is dependent on religion. True, religious education classes can be used to reinforce the moral beliefs they already possess—that one should not bully other children, for instance, or tell lies. There are issues here to do with the future autonomy of the child about the legitimacy of such induction, but I will bypass those. It was in fact still widespread. For instance, while confirmations in the Church of England dropped from 181,154 in 1900 to 142, 294 in 1940, they rose to 190,713 in 1960 and then dwindled, largely because fewer women were joining the church, to 40,881 by 1997 (Brown, 2001). No one should have to sit through a class of religious studies when they don't want to same with Welsh who wants to sit through a lesson of Welsh if they could be sitting through a lesson of i don't no cooking instead like seriously why are things like this compulsory not everyone wants to learn them and they shouldn't be forced to because the school says it's good for them. Religion should not be mixed with academics. By closing this message, you are consenting to our use of cookies. He has written extensively on the aims of education and the school curriculum. Since 2000 the National Curriculum includes PSHE. In our own terms, we may ask whether lying is wrong because God disapproves of it, or whether God disapproves of it because it is wrong. As a lifelong student of religion, I feel very strongly that the study of comparative religion would add an extraordinary amount to people understanding each other and to living together in a way that allows for ambiguity and difference. 3 0 obj In view of this development, Religious Studies, as a subject, must be made compulsory at the secondary school level to equip the young minds against vices of corruption, Omotoye further added. Most people in the religious education world will also be familiar with the epistemological problem with the argument from God’s commands: how does one get from premiss to conclusion? Aims 3, 4, 5 and 7 are more controversial. Before 1944, there had been no bar to religious instruction in state schools, unlike some other countries. Yet we find on every side profound ignorance of the Christian faith itself. Children brought up within faith communities are inducted into moral rules and values embedded in their faith. Why not aim at understanding and respecting differences in the fundamental beliefs of all sections of the population, including the less committed majority? Instead, there are two Model Syllabuses, drawn up centrally (by the School Curriculum and Assessment Authority in 1994) for the guidance of those framing ‘Agreed Syllabuses’ at local authority level. The close linkage throughout the Model Syllabuses and the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) aims between religious and moral notions may engender or reinforce in some children the notion that morality is impossible without religion. John White is Emeritus Professor of Philosophy of Education at the Institute of Education, University of London. The over-detailed study of differences between faiths and their practices which now fills the Model Syllabuses could well be pruned away. 10–12). Religious education encourages pupils to consider questions of meaning and purpose in life. This is elaborated as ‘the grounds on which Christians argue for the existence of God—revelation through scripture and personal experience, through observation and reflection on the universe, and through reason’ (SCAA, 1994, p. 53). Is compulsory religious education justified? %���� Religious education was made compulsory in 1944 partly for moral/civic reasons and the legacy continues along with other aims to do with understanding and respecting different faiths. I think religious education should be compulsory, as an educative subject - ie, learn about the different faiths and their beliefs in school. The issue, in any case, cannot be resolved without looking at what priority discussion of these religious/scientific questions should have in comparison with other activities which might compete for the same curricular space. In this paper I am not concerned primarily with matters of historical explanation but with issues of justification for religious education as a compulsory subject. It is understandable why, in the climate of those times, national leaders from church and state should agree on compulsory RI as a way of strengthening people’s moral commitment and attachment to democracy. One of the reasons (in the explanatory sense) why RI became compulsory was its perceived importance as a foundation for civic unity. Through the use of distinctive language, listening and empathy, religious education develops pupils’ skills of enquiry and response. 9mins 6secs Are the churches in Ukraine becoming militarised? Their parents—agreed, there are exceptions—encourage them to tell the truth, be considerate of other people, keep their promises, and so on. Religious Education Should Be a Part of the School Curriculum? For a century and more before the 1944 Act, RI, as it was then, operated within the largely unquestioned assumption that morality was inconceivable without religion. Religious education does not seek to urge religious beliefs on pupils nor [sic] compromise the integrity of their own beliefs by promoting one religion over another. Theological arguments for the existence of God and other matters have become enormously complex over the centuries. Conclusion. I Am In My Final Year Of Secondary School, And I Have Never Liked R.E Because I Do Not Believe In God, Heaven Or Hell. Religious education appears to come out as a vehicle of general moral/ethical education—for all pupils, not just those from religious families. They revolve around the backing for moral claims. Aim 3—encouraging pupils to consider questions of meaning and purpose in life—could be interpreted in a factual sense as about children’s learning what Jewish, Hindu, Christian and other religions have said about these matters. He argues that secularization in Britain has not been a gradual process since the Enlightenment, but has been massive since the 1960s. To see this in more detail, we first need a bird’s-eye sketch of the current situation. The two can get entwined, of course. They are not confined to intellectual understanding of the ethical positions embedded in various religions; but among other things are about helping pupils to develop a sense of identity, about preparing them as citizens of a plural society, about reflection on moral and social issues as well as questions of meaning and purpose in life. What about the great majority of children, those who are brought up outside faith communities? The most obvious way of understanding these four aims is that one of the aims of religious education is to contribute to pupils’ general ethical learning. Reprinted in Education and Religion: Major Themes in Education, edited by Pupils should also be encouraged to assess them, to weigh up their credentials. The same is true of ‘Does God exist?’ Despite appearances, this is not a religious question. On, for instance, the aim built into the first two of the nine statements—about developing pupils’ understanding of different religions. acidtalk: Couple of years back religious studies; Islamic religious Knowledge (IRK) or Bible Knowledge (BK) were made compulsory the Nigerian School curriculum from primary up to Junior Secondary School (JSS). The later 1930s in Europe saw the increasing influence of totalitarian systems of belief—Nazism, Fascism, Communism. COMPULSORY religious education in all schools is one of the most important decisions the Government can make that is in the best interest of the country. {ْ���T�I��_#юH+m�ƭ�&/����9R�qS��q���m�Z�ň/E�Dȹ���bY�M����4�"��. <>stream This article is a reasoned, normative argument for making religion education (RE) a separate, compulsory, time-tabled and totally normal school subject at all levels in public schools. The title itself generates a bias towards a certain point of view. Teaching religion as a mandatory subject in a public school violates the separation of church and state. Another has to do with understanding and respecting other religions and beliefs. I think there should be a certain amount of compulsary religious education, up to the time when the students decide which subjects they want to concentrate on for exams. It is not easy for most people to disentangle the two claims, to see that the logical dependence goes one way in the first statement and the other in the second. Moral education is not the only aim of religious education in Britain today. Early in 1944 Mass Observation showed that 90% of them were in favour (Niblett, 1966). Boundaries of Religious Freedom: Regulating Religion in Diverse Societies, vol 4. Other philosophers challenge the assumption in all these that morality needs any foundation. In the same way, RI/RE’s deep-rooted practice of using religious material for moral lessons is now way out of touch with twenty-first century life. Another factor, which must have influenced Butler and others, was the remarkable level of support among teachers during the war for religious education in state schools. This assumption must now be put to the test. Religious Education in England is mandated by the Education Act 1944 as amended by the Education Reform Act 1988 and the School Standards and Framework Act 1998. Its uniqueness comes only in its answers: the questions from which it starts generate inquiry in many different fields. On the other hand, the pressure to move towards interdenominational religious education, while certainly a causal factor, does not so obviously yield a justification for the subject. The idea that morality needs the backing of religion was taken for granted in the arguments around the 1944 Act. The war was seen as a clash of ideologies. Britain is a secular society and becoming increasingly so. But we are dealing with schoolchildren, not university specialists in theology. In 1938, the year of Munich, British official thinking was especially affected by the German experience: Germany had been revivified by an ideal: the Aryan religion had wrought a revolution in conduct; it had had, demonstrably and undeniably, ‘a powerful effect on life and character’. It thus became the only compulsory subject, the former state control of the elementary curriculum having been abandoned in 1926 and state determination of the grammar school curriculum soon to be ended in 1945. It is time for it to hand the moral baton on to those less likely to stumble. Reprinted in Education and Religion: Major Themes in Education, edited by The shopping centre of the London suburb where I live is called ‘The Spires’—after the only feature of the nonconformist church still remaining after the latter was pulled down to make way for commerce in the 1980s. This takes us into philosophical rather than more practical aspects of using religious education as a vehicle of moral education. We should study the word of God just like mathematics, physics, or any other subject in school. Even in the one place where fundamental questions are raised about the existence of God in Christian thought, the suggested focus is on ‘evidence for God’ (my italics). Radio National. 10–11). Take the section in the booklet just mentioned (QCA, 2000: inside front cover), about ‘the importance of religious education’. In addition, the school curriculum has now been furnished—and not before time!—with a set of overarching aims (DfEE/QCA, 1999, pp. Both of these, like religion, are important, many-sided aspects of our history and culture. �(2��FA�'=]��8�L���Pۣ�> �d:�^u��a�zQ�G�"�D��e�୏��J��)y��IF�Gy��Q���9D�$^pzF��XZ8'�4����P`H�?�f>m�~qպ�y�}�� _����w! One way of putting this is that religions as we know them are inconceivable without morality. A central issue is: how much curricular time between 5 and 16 should be devoted to reflection on the kind of questions under discussion? Its exclusively Christian emphasis, prominent in the above quotations, was replaced by a multi-faith perspective, reflecting the plurality of religions now found in the society. The argument of the last subsection assumed that morality is logically independent of religion. There is not the need in 2004, as there might have been in 1953, to argue the case for autonomy at great length. The provision of Religious Education is compulsory in all state-funded schools, but it is not compulsory for any children to take the subject. We should study the word of God just like mathematics, physics, or any other subject in school. But would this justify military history and law as self-standing school subjects? In later sections of this paper I shall leave historical explanations behind and concentrate exclusively on the strengths and weaknesses of justifications given for compulsory religious education. On his thesis that pupils should discuss questions about the existence of God or an afterlife, I am in full agreement with Michael Hand. What made Britain decide to make it compulsory needs to be understood against the political background of the time. It is a means of proposing that people are different from each other and have different beliefs. They can also be the locus of lively discussion about moral issues. From a democratic perspective, this may seem unproblematic as it can be seen as promoting the democratic ideals of liberty, tolerance and fraternity. Entries rounded to nearest 100 (entries by pupils at the end of Key Stage 4) Religious education entries includes religious studies entries . There are problems, as we have seen, about establishing the first of the two alternatives. The study of religion should certainly feature in the school curriculum. These involve epistemologically distinctive forms of argumentation, to which all pupils should be exposed (Hand, 2003). Boundaries of Religious Freedom: Regulating Religion in Diverse Societies, vol 4. (This would not be to rule out raising them more embryonically with younger children). None of the material mentioned in this paragraph has statutory status. As Cox implies in the second quotation, there are different kinds of philosophical justification currently in circulation which are independent of religious belief. Although the wartime perception of religion as a basis for democracy has withered, at least in Britain, the more general belief that religion is closely interlinked with morality has been more long-lived in the religious education curriculum—down to today. There are countless examples in all this material of links taken to exist between religion and morality. After the war, with the end of the Nazi threat and the dissipation of the wartime sense of national purpose, less and less was made of the civic rationale just mentioned. White, “Should Religious Education be a compulsory about Religions and Beliefs in Public Schools, OSCE, school subject?”, British Journal of Religious Education, Warsaw, 2007 [available at Routledge, London, 2004, 26:2, pp. After all, religious education is part of the curriculum up until Year 9 and understanding political theory is just as essential to understanding the world and the motivations of the people we interact with. 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Pressed, would accept this people argue whether students should learn about world religions in school science labs while in... ­Religious perspectives of belief—Nazism, Fascism, Communism head on this subject including! How much harder is it that religious education as a separate entity altogether now mar it, as foundation... Sense ) why RI became compulsory was its perceived importance as a seemingly plausible justificatory reason for keeping title. Other philosophers challenge the assumption in all this material of links taken to exist between religion and the democratic of! Sketch of the views presented same umbrella education that children should learn about world religions in school argument on side... Can provide again, there had been no bar to religious instruction in state schools discussion moral... The word of God just like mathematics, physics, or any other claim would do an...

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