EXPLORING THE POTENTIAL FOR RELIGIOUS SCHOLARSHIP IN ‘POST’ POST-CONFESSIONAL RELIGION EDUCATION IN STATE-FUNDED SOUTH AFRICAN SCHOOLS
Abstract‘Christian National Education’ (CNE) was promoted in South Africa between 1948 and 1990 by the then apartheid government to enhance and preserve white supremacy through the public schools’ system. One significant educational reform following the introduction of democratic governance in South Africa was the replacement of ‘Religious Education’ with ‘Religion Education’, intended to promote mutual recognition between future citizens, regardless of religion, ethnicity or culture. Yet, however preferable to what preceded it, this policy introduced inherent and unique limitations and difficulties we, two philosophers of education, one South African, the other English, explore while keeping in mind the place of religion in the curriculum. We see clear lessons to be learned from the South African experience of RE that are relevant to both contexts, adopting what we describe as a ‘post’- post-confessional stance to advocate a richer notion of religious illiteracy than that which is commonly assumed by policy makers, educational professionals and other educational stakeholders. We conclude by exploring the potential of academic learning in RE that is both educative and consciously positioned, using the specific example of sacred text scholarship to illustrate ‘post’ post-confessional RE’s practical application.
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