Religion and Value Education: Examining Variations and Convergences for Curriculum Implications

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Religion and Value Education: Examining Variations and Convergences for Curriculum Implications

Olufowobi, Oludare Okikiola1, Quadri, Y. Ayodele2
1Department of Educational Foundations and Counselling Psychology, Lagos State University, Ojo, Lagos State, Nigeria
2Department of Educational Foundations and Counselling Psychology, Faculty of Education, Lagos State University, Ojo, Lagos State, Nigeria
Received: 26 May 2023; Revised: 16 June 2023; Accepted: 22 June 2023; Published: 23 July 2023

Abstract: – Religion has been variously assumed as an effective tool of values education as religion is conceived as superior source of values rather than that of social criterion and self. This paper examines the correctness of this assumption in the light of the values that religion portrays and in terms of its features, worldviews and its absolutism. Could it be an effective medium in a multi-cultural, plural and mono-cultural social milieu? These were interrogated using the philosophical tools of speculation, analysis and prescription. This paper concludes that religion tends to stand in contra in providing the basis for effective and relevant values education which by its nature encourages critical, rational and reflective choice in values decisions in societies that are dynamic due to its conflicting and absolutist approaches. Rather, religion, it is suggested, could be taught as comparative study for ease of better societal engagements. It is recommended that value education should be based on social criterion and critical reasoning.

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I. Introduction

The human nature is commonly believed to be of dual composition. Man, therefore may be said to be made up of the physical and the spiritual. The spiritual is generally seen and practiced through religion which could be argued to be a reflection of socio-cultural and spiritual development, and experiences of societies. Consequently, to many it is a veritable source of values, values orientation and value judgment due to its spiritual properties which claims superiority above other areas of life and other value sources. Many religions have used education to propagate their values and religious beliefs over many centuries to such an extent that it is assumed that they are inseparable. For example in Africa, nay Nigeria, there are three main recognized religions: Islam, Christianity and African indigenous religions. Islam and Christianity, both foreign, were mainly introduced through trade, colonization and reinforced by their educational systems which have remained dominant in Nigeria. Indigenous religions have been an existential part of the whole traditional socio-cultural and political systems of Nigeria which are multi-facet and very diverse have no significant place in the educational system. In Nigeria, both the Bible and the Quran through Christian Religious Studies and Islamic Religious Studies, respectively, have occupied prominent positions in school curriculum. Many parents and educators approve of them as appropriate for value education in public and private schools for moral development of learners. With the growth in modernization, rational and empirical thinking, many countries have separated religion from the state and education. In this paper, values education is conceptualised as an approach where teachers serve as facilitators for students in values clarifications through critical reasoning in interrogating values and their principles in order to guide their choice of conduct. It also includes those pedagogical approaches in moral education. The main objective of this paper is to examine the nexus between religion and value, and assess the effectiveness of religion in values education.

Purpose of the Study

This study employed the philosophical approach to achieve the following purposes. The study therefore aims to: