Potential of Religion in Education

Siebren Miedema, “Contexts, Debates and Perpectives of Religion in Education in Europe”, in REDCo I, p. 281

[Dit deel verscheen voor het kwantitatieve onderzoek klaar was; slechts één citaat, maar wel een krachtig signaal]

Potential of Religion in Education: The Way ahead

This first REDCo book has shown that in the field of religion in education a great deal is going on at the moment in the eight European countries participating in our research. Our conclusion can be that religion in education is an important issue in all of these countries. However, the historical background, especially the particular configuration of the relationship of state and church and school and church, differs greatly, as well as the present context of religion in education in these countries. We can, nevertheless, also conclude that there is a strong convergence with respect to the aims of religion in education. With an eye on the growing religious plurality in each country, and in Europe in toto, teaching about religions and worldviews is seen as a necessary condition for an adequate conceptualization of religious education – a necessary condition, but in most of the participating countries, not a sufficient condition. That is why the concept of teaching and learning from religions and World views is combined with a variant of teaching and learning about religions.
In order to distinguish such teaching and learning from religions and worldviews clearly and distinctly from any, even sophisticated, form of teaching into a religion or world view, we should, from the very outset, find clear and effective pedagogies for combining knowledge and understanding of religions with opportunities for personal reflection and response that do not direct students to reach particular conclusions.
In such approaches, the relatively autonomous status of the school as a societal institution should be emphasized, implying that churches and religious organizations can be interesting and relevant partners of state and denominational schools, but that there should not be any institutional bond between churches or religious organizations and a school. [Ik vermoed dat hij hier bedoelt de openbare school]