The Conversation: Religious classes in schools must adapt to fit a changing Australia

In a nation that is increasingly secular, religion still plays a vital role in the way we run our country. In this series, we examine the role of religion in Australian politics and education.

Renae Barker, University of Western Australia

The role and place of religion in state schools has hit national headlines again in recent weeks. In Queensland, controversy has arisen over a proposed policy to restrict proselytising by students. And the New South Wales government’s religious education program, in which students not taking part in the classes pick up litter or do colouring in, has come under renewed criticism.

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UK Bahá’í Presentation

Two representatives of the UK Bahá’í community presented to a selection of commissioners and members of the public at the first evidence gathering session for the Commission on RE, which took place on 23 February 2017. The main topics addressed in the Bahá’í presentation were the purpose of RE, the scope and content of RE is a changing world.
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Huston Smith, influential religious studies author, dies at 97


Huston Smith, religious studies scholar and bestselling author of The World’s Religions (originally released, in 1958, as The Religions of Man) and Why Religion Matters, as well as Buddhism: A Concise Introduction, which Smith co-wrote with Philip Novak, died on December 30 at the age of 97.

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UK: How could the teaching of Hinduism be improved in schools?

Om, the Pranava

Despite being the third largest world religion, Hinduism’s relationship to Religious Education feels a little like RE’s relationship with the Curriculum. Teachers know it’s on the syllabus but many can’t quite define what ‘it’ is, attempts to template it alongside its peers don’t really work and as with Religious Education itself; Hinduism seems to split opinion between those that are passionate about its inclusion and those who fail to see its relevance. Needless to say, I am passionate about quality teaching of both Hinduism and RE.

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