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)


Jointly presented by the Ethics Centre of South Australia and The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre

Professor Terry LovatThe 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.

While the views presented by speakers within the Hawke Centre public program are their own and are not necessarily those of either the University of South Australia or The Hawke Centre, they are presented in the interest of open debate and discussion in the community and reflect our themes of: strengthening our democracy - valuing our cultural diversity - and building our future.