The Future of Religious Education in the Netherlands and Indonesia

The eighth edition of CFAC (CRCS Friday Afternoon Forum) will be held on Friday, December 14, 2007, at 15:00-17:00, in Graduate School Building, third floor, room 306, Gadjah Mada University. The key speakers will be Dr. Carl Sterkens and Mohamad Yusuf M.A. The theme in the discussion will be ?The Future of Religious Education in the Netherlands and Indonesia. Below are short biography of the speakers and the abstracts that will be presented in discussion.

Abstract of The future of Religious Education in the Netherlands (by; Carl Sterkens)

One could discuss the future of religious education in the Netherlands from several perspectives. For instance from the perspective of the relation with religious communities (churches, mosques); the relation with the state in all its different aspects; the juridical context; the content of the education; the definition of religion itself and how to approach it; etc. Today?s focus is limited to the future of religious education in the Netherlands within publicly financed schools (i.c. almost all schools in the Netherlands) from the perspective of religious plurality.

1.Criteria for and distinction of three models of religious education in a plural context

Contemporary literature offers three models for dealing with plurality in religious education: a monoreligious, a multireligious and an interreligious model. These ?ideal types? give different answers to the question of what kind of interaction is most suitable for relating to other cultures and religions in education. The models answer differently to the following question: How to speak in religious education from a position of involvement with one?s own religious tradition while fully recognising the reality of religious plurality?

This question (posed in the first place from the perspective of the pupil) yields implicitly three criteria: (a) involvement with one?s own religious tradition; (b) recognition of religious plurality; and (c) reflection on the polarity arising from the first two criteria. This polarity needs to be worked out, because it is insoluble and structurally intractable. Thus the third criterion focuses on the need to arrive at insight and indicators in religious education which will help to clarify, albeit not resolve, the cognitive, affective and attitudinal aspects of the polarity between involvement and engagement with a particular religion on the one hand, and genuine recognition of religious plurality on the other.

On the basis of the three criteria, we can both distinguish



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