The real and perceived consequences of integrating religious education with social studies at the lower and middle basic education levels: case Nakonde and Isoka districts

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Mateo, Yambayamba
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The study looked at the perceived and real consequences of integrating Religious Education (RE) with Social Studies (SS) into Social and Development Studies (SDS) at the lower and middle basic levels of education. The integration of RE with SS was as a research of the national curriculum review, which was initiated by the Ministry of Education (MOE) through Curriculum Development Centre (CDC). The CDC mandated by the MOE carried out the curriculum reforms of integrating eleven subjects into five learning areas. Community Studies is the sixth learning area of the new curriculum The integration of RE with SS was received with mixed views. The different reactions by the concerned stakeholders prompted the need to carry out a research in this area to establish exactly the perceived and real consequences resulting from the integration.The study was conducted at six basic schools in Nakonde and five basic schools in Isoka districts. Head teachers and teachers were interviewed on the integration of RE with SS. The study also included lecturers from Malcolm Moffat and Kasama Colleges of Education. Only lecturers for SDS under Social Sciences department were interviewed. The study was extended to the CDC subject specialist. Senior Education Standards Officers (SESOs) for Social Sciences at the national and provincial headquarters, representatives for the mainline church bodies, Zambia Association for Religious Education Teachers (ZARET) and other interested groups from different backgrounds. The sample size used in this study was sixty one.During the study, the descriptive approach was used. Principally, the study was qualitative but supplemented by quantitative approach. Different interview guides for each category of respondents were used for collection of data During the research, ethical and methodological considerations were taken, which included; participants' rights to privacy, dignity, self determination and researchers' right to know.The findings revealed that CDC consulted some stakeholders during the initial stages of curriculum integration. It was also found that not all key stakeholders were consulted or oriented to the integrated curriculum. This brought a lot of dissatisfaction among interested groups. The study revealed that the perceived importance of integration was that teaching and learning of RE components would be easy. The methods of teaching RE would be improved by the integration. The problem of shortages of textbooks for RE especially would be solved as RE and SS would be taught as one subject called SDS. However, the study revealed that the real consequences of integration were that RE was neglected by some teachers. Some teachers concentrated on teaching SS components of SDS and not RE. Teaching is not in detail for the integrated curriculum.From the study, strong recommendations were made that in future there should be wider consultations among key stakeholders when carrying out curriculum review. Since the curriculum integration has already been implemented, it is important to intensify the training and sensitisation of teachers and other stakeholders about it. There must be intensified monitoring of how the curriculum is delivered to the pupils by the teacher. The study further recommended for curriculum review after full implementation of the new curriculum from grade one to seven.
Religion-Religious education with social studies