“These religions are no good—they’re nothing but idol worship”: mis/representation of religion in Religious Education at school in Malawi and Ghana

Yonah Matemba, Richardson Addai-Mununkum

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Abstract

This article draws data from two complementary studies in sub-Saharan
Africa to highlight the problem of religious misrepresentation in (multifaith)
Religious Education (RE) at school in Malawi and Ghana. Employing
Michael Apples’ conception of selective tradition, the article is critical of
the confrontational disputation inherent in the RE in the two countries. The
misrepresentation is analysed under themes related to classroom discourse
and the nature of religion. It argues that RE could actually be counterproductive
and thus end up misrepresenting religions instead of promoting
them. Unless there is a radical shift in the areas identified, the subject will
continue to present a distorted picture of religion and thus fail in its civic
responsibility as a curriculum area that is perhaps best placed to inculcate
pro-social values towards citizenship in a world of religious diversity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)155-173
Number of pages19
JournalBritish Journal of Religious Education
Volume41
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 25 May 2017

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religious education
Malawi
Ghana
Religion
school
citizenship
curriculum
classroom
Idol
Misrepresentation
Worship
Religious Education
Values

Cite this

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AB - This article draws data from two complementary studies in sub-SaharanAfrica to highlight the problem of religious misrepresentation in (multifaith)Religious Education (RE) at school in Malawi and Ghana. EmployingMichael Apples’ conception of selective tradition, the article is critical ofthe confrontational disputation inherent in the RE in the two countries. Themisrepresentation is analysed under themes related to classroom discourseand the nature of religion. It argues that RE could actually be counterproductiveand thus end up misrepresenting religions instead of promotingthem. Unless there is a radical shift in the areas identified, the subject willcontinue to present a distorted picture of religion and thus fail in its civicresponsibility as a curriculum area that is perhaps best placed to inculcatepro-social values towards citizenship in a world of religious diversity.

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