Why do schools sideline religious education?

From The Guardian’s Blogging Students


Religious education just isn’t taken seriously at school. It is undervalued and unappreciated. Merged with citizenship and social studies, it sits huddled in a corner at the edge of the humanities office. But it can teach students valuable ways of thinking that help at university and later on in life too.


Religious education (RE) is so easily ignored that one of the schools I went to didn’t even give the subject its own teachers, instead making do with borrowed staff from health and social care, sociology and PE.



Yet every day we’re surrounded by issues that require us to look at events from the perspective of others ā€“ a key skill that you learn through RE. But because of the way RE is treated, the subject is often seen as irrelevant.



“Why do we have to learn this?” we whined in every subject within ten minutes of starting the lesson, “what use will this be in the real world?”


While other subjects were staunchly defended at school, RE was always seen as a tertiary subject. The maths teacher told us that it taught us to think logically; to use a step-by-step approach in working through problems. The geography teacher would insist his subject was useful: his lessons increased our understanding of global warming and the impact of our consumerism on the planet.



But from RE, we never had an answer. “Because the school says it’s compulsory” was the closest we ever got. One teacher even shrugged in response to the question at my school. All this despite the fact that RE lessons were probably the closest we ever came to understanding the ideas that shaped our world.



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