An examination of the teaching of Islam in the two senior secondary school religious education syllabuses

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Tembo, Osward
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The University of Zambia
This study investigated the teaching of Islam in the two Senior Secondary School Religious Education syllabuses (2044 and 2046). The objectives of the study were to: examine the content coverage of Islam in the two syllabuses in comparison with other religious traditions; explore the methods used to teach Islam in senior secondary school RE syllabuses; assess the context in which Islam is covered in RE syllabuses in relation to religious pluralism; and solicit the views of stakeholders on the nature of reforms needed in the teaching of Islam in senior secondary school RE. The study employed an interpretivism approach; utilising a narrative research design in order to capture in-depth and descriptive information from the respondents. Data was collected through Semi-Structured Interviews, Focus Group Discussions, Lesson Observation and Document Analysis checklists. The target population included all teachers and pupils of RE from the selected senior secondary schools in Lusaka, Curriculum Specialists at the Curriculum Development Centre (CDC) and the Muslim representatives at Makeni Islamic Society Trust (MIST). Both simple random sampling and purposive sampling were used to select 31 respondents. Data was analysed qualitatively. This involved description, explanation and interpretation of the raw data. The study revealed that the content coverage of Islam in RE syllabuses is inadequate compared to Christianity and Zambian indigenous beliefs. The study also revealed teachers mainly used two methods of teaching namely, lecture and question and answer methods. The study further showed that pupils were largely passive during lessons were the Islamic content was covered but tended to be more active during those lessons where other religious content, particularly on Christianity, was covered. The study also showed that Islam was not covered in its own right as a religion. The study revealed that stakeholders were of the view that the teaching of Islam in RE should be adequate, educational, relevant, and contextual. Additionally, the need to include a religious perspective on how Islam responds to current issues on corruption, gender and HIV and AIDS was expressed. In view of the above findings, the study recommended that: The MESVTEE should revise and improve the contents on Islam in order to make RE more educational and responsive to the needs of learners; teachers of RE should endeavour to use experiential, stimulating and pupil-centred methods and uphold high professionalism in teaching the subject; the teachers should also employ the phenomenological approach to teaching Islam so that the religion (and others on the syllabus) can be studied in their own right as religions. In addition, the MESVTEE should consider coming up with a policy document to guide the teaching of RE in Zambian secondary schools. For future research, it is recommended that the teaching of RE in Christian mission schools could be instituted to establish whether the schools’ orientation to promoting Christian spirituality and values have any bearing on the way RE is taught, paying particular attention to the non-Christian religions in the syllabuses.
Islamic Education--Zambia , Islam--Study and Teaching--Zambia