Perceptions of non-christian stakeholders on multi-faith religious education in Zambia: a case of selected secondary schools in Ndola district.

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Chilufya, Fridah Mulenga
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The University of Zambia
The study mainly investigated the perceptions of non-Christian stakeholders on multi -faith Religious Education (RE) in Zambia focusing on selected secondary schools in Ndola district of Zambia. The study aimed at first establishing the nature of RE in Zambian secondary schools before finding out the perceptions of non-Christian pupils, teachers, parents and non-Christian religious leaders on the subject. The research design employed in this study was the survey because it sought to get views of nonChristian pupils and parents on multi faith RE in Zambia. It also sought to get the views of nonChristian religious leaders on senior secondary school RE. Teachers of RE teachers were naturally among the respondents. The study thus, employed qualitative approaches, which are appropriate for investigation and studying people’s experiences as they occur in their natural setting including the meaning that they attach to the experiences, and the multiple contexts within which these experiences occur. This qualitative approach involved the use of used the following research methods: interviews, focus group discussions and document analysis. The sample size was 61 participants. The following respondents were purposively sampled: 15 RE teachers, the RE Curriculum Specialist, 2 Muslim leaders, 2 Hindu leaders and 2 African Traditional Religious leaders. Similarly, 30 non-Christian pupils and 9 non-Christian parents purposively sampled for focus group discussions. The findings of this study showed that in terms of the nature and content of RE in Zambian secondary schools, it is more Christian than multi-faith and heavily biased towards Christianity and there were no teaching and learning materials for the non-Christian religions. The perceptions of non-Christian pupils, parents and non-Christian religious leaders on the senior secondary school RE syllabuses 2044 and 2046 were that the two syllabuses were more of Christian Education than multi-faith RE; most of the topics in the syllabuses were about Christianity while their religious traditions were not adequately and correctly represented. The study recommended that the Zambian RE syllabus should be revisited so that it becomes more inclusive in nature and content, thereby representing all major stakeholders fully. In doing so, the leaders of the different religious traditions covered in RE should be consulted and involved in providing or producing relevant teaching and learning materials. The non-Christian religious leaders should be proactive in lobbying the Ministry of general Education to make Zambian RE more inclusive of their religions. Furthermore, teachers of RE should be sensitized to become more resourceful in finding relevant teaching and learning materials for topics involving non-Christian religions. Key Words: Multi-faith, Religious Education, Attitude, Perception
Religious Education , Multi-faith religious education.