Religious and Spiritual Literacy in Public Education - An unthinkable combination?
With Professor Terry Lovat, Pro Vice Chancellor, Education and Arts, The University of Newcastle
Wednesday 4 August 2010
AUDIO recording now available (22MB mp3 format)
The foundational vision for public education in the nineteenth century included religious and spiritual literacy. But that vision was never to be truly realised. As a result the twentieth century was characterised by controversy and dissent about the inclusion of such matters in public education. Indeed, the public domain inclined to divorce anything to do with religion or spirituality from its charter. Such matters were left to the churches and other religious organisations.
This divorce has skewed public education in some respects.
The Adelaide and Melbourne Declarations on National Goals for Schooling in the 21st Century (1999, 2008) have once more highlighted the importance of religious and spiritual literacy. The Declarations have attempted to correct an educationally unhelpful legacy.
However, the correction can only occur if both public education and religious authorities are prepared to confront their prejudices, re-think and re-position.
Professor Terry Lovat is Pro Vice-Chancellor (Education and Arts) at The University of Newcastle. He is a former President of the Australian Council of Deans of Education and the NSW Teacher Education Council. His major research interests are in religious education, values education and the issue of Islam in its relations with Western religions.
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