AbstractReligion as a possible factor in education systems and their planning
Students of education systems distinguish a number of factors that can impact on education systems and their planning. Religion, however, is rarely if ever mentioned as a factor in education system planning. In this article, the authors reflect on various facets of the question as to why religion has not been acknowledged as a factor in education systems in modern societies. The following aspects of the problem are addressed: the nature of the education system; the influence of secularism on education systems and their planning; problems which would be encountered if religion were to be taken into account in education system planning; and the accommodation of religions and religious diversity in education systems.
The conclusion is drawn that in the contemporary world, religion is recognised as a factor in education system planning only in the form of secularism (with a few exceptions, such as in mono-religious Islamic states). All other religions are relegated from public life to the private spheres of people’s lives. Because secularism embodies the notion of a public morality that can potentially be shared by (and should be promoted among) all citizens of a particular country or society, secular values tend to be incorporated in the constitutions and other laws of countries. As a result, this value system tends to be promoted by means of the public education system. The article ends with two scenarios of what can be expected to happen if the opposite were allowed to happen, and schools, for instance, were not expected to adhere to secular values, but rather to the “sectarian” religious values of their choice.
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