07 SES 12 A, The Dimension of Religious Education in Intercultural Education; Policies, Practices and Research in Europe today
It is sometimes stated in research, but even more often in policy documents and curricula, that religious education (RE) may play an important role for teaching intercultural understanding and intercultural competence (Coulby & Zambeta 2008; Jackson 2004; Jackson et al. 2007; Jackson 2014; Leganger-Krogstad 2011; Sjöborg 2012; UNESCO). As stated for example in the UNESCO policy for Intercultural Education "education can make an important and meaningful contribution to sustainable and tolerant societies" (p. 8). However, both intercultural education as well as religious education are contested concepts in Europe today. There exists a multitude of positions and discursive constructions in various national and local contexts showing a great variation in theory, in practice and in research (Barrett 2012; Habermas 2006; Jackson et al. 2007; Kushner 1998; Perry & Southwell 2011; Zilliacus 2014).
During the last decade, intercultural education and religious education have been addressed by various European Union agencies like the OECD (The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) and OSCE (the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe). Also, during the Standing Conference of European Ministers of Education that was held in Istanbul in 2007, the ministers noted that "regardless of the religious education system that exists in a particular country, children must receive tuition that takes account of religious and philosophical diversity as part of their intercultural education" (Toledo Guiding Principles) and in September 2014 the work Signposts: Policy and practice for teaching about religions and non-religious worldviews in intercultural education (Jackson 2014) initiated by the Council of Europe was published.
The aim of this Symposium is to directly and critically address the issue of dimensions of religious education within the field of intercultural education in a European perspective and to discuss policies and practices in various European countries, as well as the EU as a key player on the educational policy arena.
The kinds of questions the Symposium seeks to address include the following:
- What is known about the dimension of Religious Education reflected in and as part of Intercultural Education in various national contexts in Europe today?
- How does national policies on Religious Education reflect Intercultural Education and vice versa, how does intercultural education reflect dimensions of religion and Religious Education in national policies?
- What research is being done and what research may be needed?
Martyn (2012). Intercultural Competence, EWC Statement Series, Second Issue Oslo:European Wergeland Centre, 23–27. Coulby, David & Zambeta, Evie (2008) Intercultural education, religion and Modernity. Intercultural Education, 19(4), 293-295. Council of Europe, ed. 2004. The Religious Dimension of Intercultural Education. Strasbourg: Council of Europe Publishing. Habermas, Jürgen( 2006). Religion in the Public Sphere. European Journal of Philosophy, 14 (1), pp. 1–25. Jackson, Robert, Miedema, Siebren, Weisse, Wolfram & Willaime, Jean-Paul (2007, (Eds.), Religion and Education in Europe. Developments, Contexts and Debates. Münster: Waxmann. Jackson, Robert ( 2014). Signposts: Policy and Practice for Teaching about Religions and Nonreligious Worldviews in Intercultural Education. Strasbourg: Council of Europe Publishing. Jackson, Robert (2014) The development and dissemination of Council of Europe policy on education about religions and non-religious convictions. Journal of Beliefs & Values: Studies in Religion & Education, 35(2), pp. 133-143. Kushner, Kenneth (1998) International perspectives on intercultural education. Nahwah, N.J.: L. Erlbaum Associates. OSCE (2007) Toledo Guiding Principles on Teaching about Religions and Beliefs in Public Schools. Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe Perry, Laura, B. & Southwell, Leonie (2011) Developing intercultural understanding and skills: models and approaches. Intercultural Education, 22:6, pp. 453-466. Sjöborg, Anders (2012) Religious education and intercultural understanding: examining the role of religiosity for upper secondary students’ attitudes towards RE. British Journal of Religious Education, 35:1, pp. 36-54.
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