07 SES 13 B, Religion and Religious Education: Past, Present and Future in Europe (Part 2)
Symposium: continued from 07 SES 12 B
This paper is based on an analysis of news and opinion articles published in a local newspaper in Norway, debating the practice of inviting a pastor of the Church of Norway to teach children in state maintained kindergartens about the Easter holiday. The change in practice was initiated by the director of the municipal kindergarten authority, who responded to a recent change in the Kindergarten Act. The revised law shifted the emphasis from education about the Christian faith to education about Christianity, other religions, and secular worldviews and to an emphasis on shared values. The debate started when the newspaper reported that some state-maintained kindergartens had chosen to discontinue the tradition of inviting the pastor to teach the children about the Easter holiday. A city council member, the director of kindergartens, a parents’ association leader, parents, members of the general public, early childhood teachers, a religious education school teacher, and the pastor participated in the debate. The articles have been analyzed in a discourse analytic perspective. The debate is located within a long-standing debate about religion and education in Norway. Attention is especially directed towards the construction of self and other, inclusion and exclusion, and education and democracy.
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