Religious education in Zambia: Towards religious literacy, religious pluralism and liberalism
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The study sought to ascertain whether the values promoted by the two Zambian senior secondary school RE syllabuses were in conformity with the promotion of religious pluralism and liberalism, and whether they could promote the attainment of religious literacy which is a tenet of modern RE. The objectives of the study were to: explore the teaching methods and approaches used in RE; ascertain whether religious literacy is attainable through the current Zambian RE syllabuses; and establish the values promoted by RE in the light of increasing religious pluralism and liberalism in the country. The study used the case study design which employed the qualitative strategy in order to effectively address the issues raised by the research questions. The methods of data collection included in-depth semi structured interviews, lesson observations and document analysis, using the semi structured interview guides, focus group discussion guide, lesson observation checklist and document analysis checklist, respectively. The target population included all teachers and pupils of RE in the selected schools and the RE Curriculum Specialist from CDC. Both simple random sampling and purposive sampling techniques were used to select the respondents. The findings of the study were that Zambian RE continues to be poorly handled, and teachers mostly employed teacher-centred methods. The findings also indicate that pupils were exposed to Christianity and though, not adequately covered, Islam, Hinduism and Zambian Traditional Religion. Consequently, the current Zambian RE syllabuses are deficient in attaining religious literacy. The study further revealed that the Zambian RE syllabuses promote values related to religious pluralism and liberalism. Respect for others, love, awareness, and tolerance are among the main values promoted by RE which directly relate to the values of religious pluralism and liberalism. Based on the findings above, the study recommends that: RE should to be revised so that the subject is made more liberal, critical and educational; and RE teachers should go beyond teaching for examinations if the subject is to contribute to the promotion religious literacy.
- Education 
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