n International Journal of Educational Development - Secularism for development
|Article Title||Secularism for development|
|© Publisher:||UNISA Press|
|Journal||International Journal of Educational Development|
|Affiliations||1 University of Birmingham, UK and 2 University of South Africa|
|Publication Date||Jan 2015|
|Pages||41 - 61|
|Keyword(s)||Conflict, Development, Education, Religion, Rights and Secularism|
Secular governance is argued to be essential to stable development. From this it is contended that a secular approach to education is also central to development. This paper explores how religion can be complicit in conflict and fragility, and can be part of extremism or repressive nationalism. It outlines the amplification spiral of religion in conflict and violence, in order to propose a dynamic secularism to break this cycle. Eight myths of secularism are outlined and dismissed. The implications for education are fivefold: avoiding segregation by religion; not stereotyping or dehumanising 'others'; using a rights-based approach to values that cuts across all religions; preparing learners for a secular democratic citizenship; and insisting on critical thinking for teachers and learners. While in dynamic secularism all religions are accepted, they must not be elevated above other forms of ideology or grouping, and must be subject to the same critiques.
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