Despite the increased trend towards secularisation in state schooling, issues of religion and spirituality have remained important. Increased pluralism within societies through expanding migration patterns is changing the religious and cultural contours of many countries in Europe and North America, and is creating a need for a deeper understanding of religious diversity. However, the lack of religious or spiritual education within the educational curriculum leaves a moral vacuum that can become a space to be exploited by religious extremism. More recently, religiously motivated incidences of terrorism in several parts of the world have heightened prejudicial attitudes and distrust of certain religions, in particular. These are profound concerns and there is an urgency to examine how religion, religious education and interfaith initiatives can address such misconceptions. This book is thus timely, focusing on an area that is often neglected, particularly on the role of religion in education for sustainable development. While religious organisations and faith communities have had a long history of involvement in both schooling and social service delivery in many countries, their role in reaching development goals has not always been explicitly recognised, as is evident even in the United Nations’ most recently conceptualised 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Undeniably, the integration of religious dialogue into mainstream development issues is crucial because deep cleavages resulting from the issue of minority religious rights continue to give cause for concern and conflict in many countries. This edited book explores some of these tensions and issues and draws parallels across differing geographical contexts to help enhance our collective and comparative understanding of the role of religious education and institutions in advancing the post-2015 development agenda. The contributors to this volume each demonstrate that, while religion in education can contribute to understanding and respect, it is also a space that can be contested and co-opted. Without addressing the salience of religion, however, it will not be possible to foster peace and combat discrimination and prejudice. This book will be of interest to researchers, scholars and students in the field of comparative education and development, religious studies, theology and teacher development and training. This book may also be of interest to national and international policy makers. There are also numerous faith-based organisations, as well as other non-governmental organisations (NGOs) working on religion and education issues that may find these case studies a useful resource.
Author: Malini Sivasubramaniam
Publisher: Symposium Books Ltd