Religious Education (RE) lessons have a ‘key role’ to play in reducing religious misunderstanding and conflict, an inquiry by the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Religious Education has said.
In a summary report, entitled RE and good community relations, the committee found that when schools provide pupils with education on religion and belief, the potential for tension and friction was reduced.
The report also said that levels of understanding about RE in schools are often misinformed and inaccurate, and has called for a series of better measures to help students learn about faith.
A few years after the US and some UK schools publicly declared it was a good thing to remove ‘God’ from schools, the all-party group called for clearer school-based community relations and equalities policies, on matters of religion and belief, to help young people learn skills of dialogue and acceptance.
It also recommended better and consistent good practice teaching guidance to ensure teachers are able to educate youngsters ‘confidently’ on intra-religious conflicts. The report called for more work to help young people from all faith cultures to join together for intercultural projects.
Stephen Lloyd MP, the chairman of the APPG on RE, said, ‘It is vital that all young people are armed with the right knowledge and facts to discriminate between myth and reality. Schools and colleges are a safe and trusted place to explore religions, conflict and worldviews in a constructive and positive way.
‘This prepares children for the challenges and opportunities of multicultural life, and helps them live harmoniously with others’.