Religious Education Currently Being Reviewed in Britain
Various British citizens are concerned regarding a recent report published by Ofsted; the “Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills” which addresses the lack of religious diversity and acceptance of religions in Primary Schools. According to the official Ofsted website, they are “independent and impartial” and “report directly to Parliament” . The reports reflect whether or not the systems of educating young people and children are effective and also regulate these education services. On November 27, 2014, BBC reporter Hannah Richardson published an article on this subject that provides prominent sources for information on this issue. These religious representatives all seem to concur, Religious Education needs regulation in order solve its problems. This is a completely plausible solution for the reasons that Religious Education indeed has the innate ability to expand the mind and also allow one to gain unique knowledge of faiths other than their own as well as providing explanation of dissimilar religious beliefs and why cultures have the practices that they do.
One prominent opinion referenced in this article is that of Rabbi Dr Johnathan Romain (Chairman of The Accord Coalition), he explains why Religious Education is significant and goes on to insist that the compulsory state of Religious Education in Primary Schools should remain unchanged. Within his argument he provides two reasons for the importance of Religious Education. The first, is for “general knowledge”, there are certain things that we as humans consider “common sense” and the study of religion in schools has the potential to broaden a student’s common knowledge. Secondly, Religious Education is critical because of its effect on “community cohesion”, an understanding of our neighbors and their customs in a multicultural society. Educating oneself in faiths, especially those other than your own is essential to building a well-rounded scholar. Among Ofsted’s many criticisms Richardson highlights key arguments such as the instances believed to be “exposure to extremism in five Muslim Independent schools”. Richardson also includes that religion is not being taught in a broad enough range and even in State Schools the curriculum was found to fail at the task of “preparing pupils for life in Britain today” in addition to “not teaching respect for and understanding of various faiths.”
Religious Education is aimed at schooling students in a broad range of faiths not at teaching children to believe in a particular faith. Providing national guidelines for such courses of study will guarantee quality information about a variety of faiths that will prepare our children for life in a contemporary multicultural society. These issues of how to regulate Religious Education in Britain’s schools are currently being reviewed and investigated further.