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Religious Education: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Religious Education is the term given to education concerned with religion. It may refer to education provided by a church or religious organization, for instruction in doctrine and faith, or for education in various aspects of religion, but without explicitly religious or moral aims, e.g. in a school or college. The term often overlaps with Religious Studies.


United Kingdom

Religious Education (RE) is a compulsory subject in the state education system in the United Kingdom. Schools are required to teach a programme of religious studies according to local and national guidelines.

In Scotland it is called Religious and Moral Education from ages 5 to 14, and Religious, Moral and Philosophical Studies from 14 to 18.

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. Religious Education is compulsory in all state-funded schools. The subject consists of the study of different religions, religious leaders, and other religious and moral themes. However, the curriculum is required to reflect the predominant place of Christianity in religious life and hence Christianity forms the majority of the content of the subject. All parents have the right to withdraw a child from religious education, which schools must approve.[1]

Additionally, all schools are required by law to provide a daily act of collective worship, of which at least 51% must be Christian in basis over the course of the academic year.[2] However, this activity even if multifaith in nature is often meaningless to non Christians, particularly Muslims, who have specific protocols for prayer. Teachers' organizations have criticized school prayer and called for a government review of the practice.[3] Moreover, this means that even those students who have reached the age of consent (16 years) need their parents' consent to withdraw from the collective worship. Partly due to the lack of support from the teachers and partly due to the government's unwillingness to attract controversy, only a quarter of secondary schools actually comply, according to education inspectorate Ofsted.[4]

Scotland has national guidelines which state expectations of student learning. The Local Authority will draw up a curriculum for each of its schools. Each local authority in England has a Local Agreed Syllabus which mandate subject teaching for each Key Stage and possibly for each school year. The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority has also produced the non-statutory National Framework for Religious Education, which provides guidelines for the provision of RE at all key stages, and models the eight-levels as applied in National Curriculum subjects.[5]

The National Union of Teachers suggested in 2008 that parents should have a right to have specific schooling in their own faith and that imams, rabbis and priests should be invited to offer religious instruction to pupils in all state schools.[6]


In France, RE is replaced by a compulsory non-religious moral teaching (called civic, legal and social education : éducation civique, juridique et sociale, ECJS). Children can additionally receive, on a voluntary basis, a religious education, either at school in private religious school, or outside of school, in their religious community, if they are in a public (State) school.


See: Civic, Social and Political Education


The prevailing view is that the religious education would contravene the constitutional separation of state and religion. In place of RE, there is a short but nonetheless compulsory subject called "Ethics" (doutoku, lit:morality) in primary school, where the purpose is to teach moral values rather than to teach ethics as an academic subject. However despite the stated secular stance, references to the majority religions of Shinto and Buddhism are sometimes made in class texts.


Israeli school system includes State Schools; Religious State Schools; Recognized Schools and Exempt Schools, whose students are regarded as fulfilling the obligatory education (See: A. Maoz, "Religious Education in Israel", 83 U. Det. Mercy L. Rev (2006) p. 679-728;


In Malaysia, "Pendidikan Moral" (Moral Studies) is compulsory for non-Muslim Secondary and Primary school students. Muslim students would instead partake in "Pendidikan Islam" (Islamic Studies) lessons. Both are among the 7 compulsory subjects undertaken by students for the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia. There has been considerable debate upon the usefulness of the Moral subject, primarily due to the strict exam-oriented marking schemes[7].

See also


  1. ^ Department for Children, Schools and Families. "Religious Education — collective worship and the right to withdraw". Teachernet. Department for Children, Schools and Families. Retrieved 2008-02-07.  
  2. ^ Department for Children, Schools and Families (2005). "Collective worship". Teachernet. Department for Children, Schools and Families. Retrieved 2008-02-07.  
  3. ^ "BHA Briefing 2006/12: Education and Inspections Bill" (PDF). BHA Briefing. British Humanist Association. 2006. Retrieved 2008-02-07.  
  4. ^ Lucy Wilkins (2005-07-24). "School worship: from sports to death". BBC News website. BBC. Retrieved 2008-02-07.  
  5. ^ Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (2004). "Religious Education: non-statutory framework". National Curriculum Website. Qualifications and Curriculum Authority. Retrieved 2008-02-07.  
  6. ^ Hannah Goff (2008-03-24). "Call to offer faith class choice". BBC News website. British Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 2008-03-27.  
  7. ^

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