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Wales Bids to Boost Religious Education

Published: 16/01/2012 01:43:37 PM GMT
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CARDIFF - Seeking to teach Welsh students about religious tolerance, the Archbishop of Wales is planning an education center to help improve the teaching standards of religious education and enrich faith ethics.“Learning a (more)

CARDIFF - Seeking to teach Welsh students about religious tolerance, the Archbishop of Wales is planning an education center to help improve the teaching standards of religious education and enrich faith ethics.

“Learning about different religions and what it might mean to take religion seriously, as well as seeing life from other perspectives, is more important than ever for young people today,” Dr Barry Morgan, the Archbishop of the Church in Wales, said, the BBC News Online reported.

“It teaches them values such as respect, tolerance and responsibility and raises awareness of our common humanity.”

Morgan said the aim of the center was to inspire children and teach “respect, tolerance and responsibility”.

Located inside the historic church, the £500,000 Center for Religious Education and Faith Development aims to promote good-quality religious education at schools.

The center's managers also hope to help the church to be effective in its work with young people.

The new suggestion comes amid rising complaints on the deteriorating role of religious education inside British schools.

Last July, a galaxy of Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Sikh and Buddhist leaders in Britain warned that religious education in schools was in grave risk.

The warning followed the Department of Education's publication of its annual league tables on school performance measuring the proportion of pupils obtaining the English baccalaureate (GCSE).

These tables did not include religious education, though it has been extremely popular over the past few years, as the number of students taking it jumped from 113,000 to 460,000 over the last 15 years.

A major study performed earlier in 2011 also revealed that thousands of secondary schools were already axing lessons for older pupils, flouting legislation that demands all children should be taught religious education until at least 16.

The study showed that a quarter of schools fail to provide the subject for 14- to 16-year-olds, with around a third planning to drop it next year.

Challenges

The Archbishop of Wales acknowledged that the center will face many challenges to reach its goals.

“The challenge for this new centre will be to equip teachers with high quality materials that will engage and inspire children, whether they are in Sunday school or teenagers,” he said.

School officials are already visiting the center.

The center's education team has also developed 21 workshops to educate young people through school visits.

“Our aim is to see religious education taught more effectively to children and young people - not just in Wrexham but across Wales, and for young people to become excited and positive about their faith,” said Gavin Craigen, the center's executive director.

About 7,000 state schools in England are faith schools - roughly one in three of the total - educating 1.7 million pupils.Of the 590 faith-based secondary schools five are Jewish, two Muslim and one Sikh - the rest belong to the Church of England and other Christian denominations.

Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net




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