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Religion in Education: Robert Jackson

25 July 11

Held at the University of Warwick, 25th-26th July 2011

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Robert Jackson, University of Warwick, Director of WRERU [Warwick Religions and Education Research Unit], Principal Investigator Religion and Society project Young People's Attitudes to Religious Diversity

Religion, Society and Education: Issues about Religions and Education in the UK and Europe (keynote address)

Click here to listen to/download the podcast.

Professor Jackson addresses the context in which the conference is being held, identifying key themes. The presentations will focus on the voices of both young people and educators, neither of whom are well-represented generally in the debate about religion and education.

Why study religions in publicly funded schools at all? The arguments can either be rooted in an inherent value, or in the instrumental value, such as promoting social inclusion or personal development. A thesis of secularisation, accompanied by increasingly global awareness of religions, dominated the decades at the close of the 20th century. There had then followed a decade marked by reversals and change in Labour Party policy, and a context of international terrorism, in which religion found a new recognition in education. We now need to look to Europe and some of its institutions to find further detail on that recognition, such as recent positive developments in identifying the significance of religion by the Council of Europe. In these international bodies we will positive emphases on religious tolerance and on religious education’s role in promoting security.

“Are we talking about the inadvertent marginalisation of religious education?”

We have now entered a period under the coalition government in which we might be experiencing the inadvertent marginalisation of religion. In contrast to that wider international contemporary background, religious education in the UK is currently being undermined, in various ways, both in support for research effort and in the delivery of religious education in the classroom.

A one page summary of Professor Jackson's talk may be downloaded below.

Report and podcasts compiled by Norman Winter. Recordings of the symposium sessions are substantially complete, but may have been edited in small ways for technical and other reasons.

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Associated file:
Religion and Society lecture outline Jackson.docx

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