Rethinking Education in Changing Times: The Need for Religious Education in Schools

By Alim Fakirani.

Published by The International Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Society

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

If the classroom is a microcosm of the societies in which we live, then it becomes apparent that Canadian society is changing. Canada is, without a doubt, a multicultural society, a colourful and rich tapestry woven by the uniqueness of people from different ethno-religious and cultural backgrounds. This demographic change, which research shows is increasing in pace, has tremendously benefited the overall fabric of Canadian society. However, while this change has added to the vividness and richness of our Canadian identity and heritage, it has also caused and created certain problems. Along with this demographic change, conflict has also emerged in the form of rising tensions between different community groups within our country. Quebec’s reasonable accommodations debate is a good example that validates this point. The question fundamentally becomes: What are the root causes of this conflict? How can we hope to prevent such conflict from emerging in the future? This paper, guided by empirical research, suggests that conflict has emerged from a pervasive ignorance about others who inhabit a shared socio-geographic space, an ignorance that breeds misunderstanding and mistrust. More importantly, this paper asserts that educators and educational systems can play a seminal role in responding appropriately to these issues within our society. If conflict is born out of ignorance, then how can education replace ignorance with knowledge in an effort to curtail future conflict? The vitality of any given society is only guaranteed insofar as the systems that educate its members keep up with the pace of change within this society. As classrooms throughout our country change to reflect the ever altering landscape of Canada, so too should the curricula that are used within these spaces. This paper will highlight the necessity to revitalize our systems of education so that they reflect our Canadian society in a meaningful way while adding to the promise of an active citizenry and promoting a prosperous civil society.

Keywords: Education, Pluralism, Democracy, Demographics, Tension, Reasonable Accommodations, Conflict, Knowledge Society, Knowledge,, Canada, Statistics

The International Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Society, Volume 2, Issue 3, 2012, pp.115-127. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 392.279KB).

Alim Fakirani

Educator and Researcher, ITREB Canada, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Alim Fakirani is an educator who has always had a keen interest for the intersection of faith and culture with the secular political landscape in Canada. Having a background in political science and religious studies, he always believed that the so called “wall of separation” between the church and state is an oversimplification of a much more complex interaction between individual members of a given society and the state itself. This interest led him to pursue further studies in the field of education, where be believes that the reconciliation of individual belief systems and the secular democratic principles that define Canadian society can intersect in a meaningful way for young students as they contribute their unique experiences and individuality to their country.