The Nature of Current Zambian Secondary School Religious Education
Keywords: Nature, Religious Education, Syllabuses, Christianity, main religions, Education Reforms
AbstractThis article is the product of a desk study aimed at describing, examining and explaining the nature of Zambian secondary school Religious Education (RE). The motivation for the study arose from the fact that despite undergoing reforms over the years, the nature of Zambian RE is still unclear and many questions continue to be raised with regard to its educational status and standing as a curriculum subject in the country. In order to address the task at hand, five criteria derived from the natural meaning of the word ‘nature’ (of something) were used as a guide in the study. Thus the criteria adopted were: Aims of the school RE syllabuses; Content of the syllabuses; Model of the RE syllabuses; Pedagogical features of the syllabuses; and Teaching and learning materials used in the syllabuses. In line with desk research, secondary data from the national education policy documents, the school RE syllabuses, and other relevant documents such as books and journal articles were read and analysed in order to address the researchers’ questions. In brief it was established that the aims of the current school RE in Zambia are multi-faith with the intent of equally covering the four main religious traditions in Zambia namely, Christianity, Zambian Indigenous religious beliefs, Hinduism and Islam, but the content of the syllabuses is more of Christianity than multi-religious. The model of Zambian RE is unclear as the subject is partially confessional and partially phenomenological. The main pedagogical features include using both life themes and biblical themes, using three teaching-learning stages (junior secondary) and four teaching- learning stages (senior secondary syllabuses 2044, 2046). The teaching- learning materials used include the bible, pupils’ text books, teachers’ guides and any other literature and materials relevant to the syllabus topics. Finally it was recommended that there is urgent need to further reform Zambian RE not only in line with the provisions of latest Government education policy provisions, but also in line with key recommendations of various Zambian scholars and students of the subject.