Towards the decolonisation of religion education in a pre-service education classroom

Esau, Omar (2020)

CITATION: Esau, O. 2020. Towards the decolonisation of religion education in a pre-service education classroom. British Journal of Religious Education, 43(1):58-67, doi:10.1080/01416200.2020.1848799.

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In this article, I reflect on my attempts to decolonise religious education at a historically white university in a post-apartheid South Africa. This pre-service education project conducted in 2017 happened against the backdrop of two events, namely, a renewed curriculum policy, Curriculum Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS) and the #RhodesMustFall (RMF) and #FeesMustFall (FMF) protests. These events encouraged me to reflect on my academic role as a teacher-educator preparing pre-service teachers to teach religion in schools. This led to me asking many questions such as, what is the effect of my teaching religious education?, How do teacher-educators prepare religious education pre-service teachers for a multicultural and multireligious society?, How does my teaching align itself with the decolonisation of education? and How do I redress the colonial past in my religious education classroom? The data which included reflective reports, student experiences and self-reflexivity acknowledged the findings that religion education served as a unifying factor in building social cohesion. The significance of this paper lies in the argument that decolonisation becomes an imperative if one is striving for social justice and intends to commit oneself to a more equitable society where crossing borders must be a seamless act.

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