Year 2019, Volume 18 , Issue 35, Pages 147 - 170 2019-06-30

Paydaşlarına Göre İngiltere Devlet Okullarındaki Din Eğitimine Gösterilen Önemsizlik ve Bunun Sebepleri
Unimportance Attached to Religious Education in State Schools in England and its Reasons According to Stakeholders

Abdurrahman HENDEK [1]


Bu makale İngiltere devlet okullarında zorunlu olarak okutulan din eğitimi dersine gösterilen önemi ve bunun sebeplerini paydaşların görüşleri üzerinden incelemektedir. İngiltere din eğitimi politikaları ve İngiltere’de geliştirilen ve uygulanan din eğitimi yaklaşımları zaman zaman Türkiye dahil birçok ülkeye örnek olarak sunulmaktadır. Ancak, İngiltere'de bu politikaların ve yaklaşımların uygulanması sonucu din eğitimine gösterilen önem ve tutum konusu Türkiye'de yapılan çalışmalarda çok fazla incelenmemiştir. Bu konunun incelenmesi için İngiltere’de din eğitimi paydaşları ile mülakatlar yapılmış ve konu ile ilgili İngiltere'de yapılan çalışmalar incelenmiştir. Paydaşlarla yapılan mülakatlar ve konuyla ilgili çalışmalar ortaya koymaktadır ki İngiltere'de din eğitimi önem verilmeyen bir ders durumundadır. Hatta normal şartlarda din eğitimini önemseyenler bile, uygulanan din eğitimi yaklaşımları ve politikaları yüzünden devlet okullarındaki din eğitimine karşı mesafeli durmaktadır. Bunun ise çeşitli sebepleri bulunmaktadır. Dersin kötü işlenmesi, amaçlarının net olmaması gibi iç sebepler; devletin izlediği din eğitimi politikalarının dışlayıcı olarak görülmesi ve dersin "din" eğitiminden uzaklaşması gibi problemler bu sonucu ortaya çıkarmış gözükmektedir. Yine bunun yanında, genel eğitim politikaları nedeniyle derse yeterince destek verilmemesi ve son olarak sekülerleşme ve maddileşme gibi sebepler de bu sonuca katkı sağlamış gözükmektedir. Sonuç olarak şu söylenebilir ki, İngiltere'deki din eğitimi politika ve yaklaşımlarının daha iyi anlaşılması için bu sonuçların dikkate alınması gerekmektedir.

Abstract 

This article explores the unimportance attached to religious education, which is among compulsory subjects in state schools in England, and the reasons behind it according to stakeholders. Religious education policies and approaches developed in England are sometimes presented as models to other countries including Turkey. However, the importance shown to religious education after years of implementation of these policies and approaches has not been explored much in Turkish religious education literature. In order to explore the issue, interviews were conducted with religious education stakeholders in England and related studies were examined. Interviews and related studies reveal that religious education in England has been treated as a minor subject. On the one hand the subject has been marginalised. On the other hand, even those who normally consider religious education as an important subject have been alienated from religious education in state schools due to religious education policies and approaches. Internal problems such as poor provision and unclear purpose and problems such as exclusionist policies and distancing from ‘religious’ education seemed to be contributory factors. Moreover, insufficient support due to general education policies and external problems like secularisation and materialism also seemed to contribute to this result. These findings should be taken into account in order to better understand religious education policies and approaches applied in England.

Summary

In this article, the unimportance attached to religious education, a compulsory subject in state schools in England, and the reasons behind it are explored. There are two reasons why such an exploration is needed. Firstly, religious education policies and approaches developed and applied in England are sometimes presented as models to other countries.  Indeed, there is a growing interest from Turkish academics in English religious education , particularly in religious education approaches developed in England such as "phenomenological religious education", "critical religious education" and "gift to the child".  However, importance attached to religious education after years of implementation of these policies and approaches have not been explored much in Turkish religious education literature. This study, therefore, fills the gap in Turkish religious education literature by exploring this issue and contributes to better understanding of English religious education.

Secondly, such an exploration will help us to understand Turkish religious education better. As Sadler argued, by exploring other's educational systems, we can be "better fitted to study and to understand our own".  Indeed, in Turkish religious education literature, there are studies which explored attitudes towards religious education in Turkey  and this study is related to them.

There is a variety of schools in England, including ordinary and religious state schools with varying degrees of flexibility in terms of religious education provision. In this article, the focus is on ordinary state schools which must follow locally agreed syllabuses, whereby must have a non-confessional and multi-faith religious education.

In order to explore the importance of religious education in these state schools, 20 in depth interviews were conducted with various religious education stakeholders in England. The interviewees ranged from academics to representatives of religious, secular and professional organisations and from teachers to state officials. Maximal variation sampling strategy within purposeful sampling was employed to present diverse perspectives on this complex issue.  Studies conducted in England which are related to the issue were also examined.  The data collection and analysis were based on Miles, Huberman and Saldaña's approach to qualitative research.  A computer software programme called MAXQDA 11 (Qualitative Data Analysis Software) was used to organise and analyse the data generated through interviews and related studies.

Interviews and related studies reveal that religious education in state schools in England has been treated as a minor subject. On the one hand the subject has been marginalised. On the other hand, even those who normally consider religious education as important have been alienated from religious education in state schools due to religious education policies and approaches. There seemed different reasons for this result. Internal problems such as poor provision and unclear purpose were mentioned as contributory factors. Some claimed that there is a broad consensus that religious education provision in state schools is poor. Moreover, some participants argued that religious education policies are not inclusive enough, that is, they bias in favour of religious groups or Christianity. While others suggested that religious education has moved away from "religion" due to religious education approaches applied. Furthermore, lack of sufficient support and unequal treatment of school subjects led some observers to call religious education: "Cinderella of the curriculum", "third division subject" and "backwater".  What is more, external problems such as secularisation and materialism were also mentioned as contributory  factors to the low status of religious education in state schools in England.

It can be argued that even though religious education has been defined and presented as an educational subject instead of a religious one, this was not enough to avert low status in the face of secularisation. The attitudes towards religion directly influenced the attitudes towards religious education, as found by some studies conducted in Turkey.  Religious education approaches tasked to modernise the subject also seemed to contribute to the low status by secularising and moving religious education away from religion,  whereby alienating some religious people. Religious people alienated from religious education in state schools have retreated to alternative places such as home schooling and faith schools to provide better religious education for their children.

It is then important to take these findings into account when religious policies and approaches applied in England are presented as models to other countries. Even though religious education policies and models are not solely responsible for the low status of religious education in England, they seemed to contribute to it.

The article concludes with suggestions on what can be done to raise the status of religious education in state schools. It seems to be important to clarify the aims and purposes of religious education in state schools. Unclear purpose leads to confusion which breeds low status. Religious education should also focus on its subject matter, religion, rather than focusing on topics and issues unrelated to study of religion. Finally, it seems that the importance attached to religion directly influences the status of religious education, even though religious education is described as an educational subject in modern societies.

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Primary Language tr
Subjects Social
Journal Section Articles
Authors

Orcid: 0000-0003-2832-3445
Author: Abdurrahman HENDEK
Institution: SAKARYA ÜNİVERSİTESİ
Country: Turkey


Dates

Publication Date : June 30, 2019

ISNAD HENDEK, Abdurrahman . "Paydaşlarına Göre İngiltere Devlet Okullarındaki Din Eğitimine Gösterilen Önemsizlik ve Bunun Sebepleri". Hitit Üniversitesi İlahiyat Fakültesi Dergisi 18 / 35 (June 2019): 147-170 . https://doi.org/10.14395/hititilahiyat.477503