It is important to state that given the prevailing political situations in Sri Lanka, the Catholic school curriculum has restricted how other religious studies are conducted in the country. The Catholic school curriculum needs to make the necessary adjustments to tolerate the teaching of additional religious education in the nation in the learning institutions. Sri Lanka has four main religions: Islam which make8% of the total population, Christianity also has 8% of the total population, Hinduism make up 16% of the country's total population while Buddhism is the majority religion in the country and has close to 70% of the total population in the nation as its followers (Fernando 19).
More research needs to be conducted both by the historians and social scientists on how the place of religions and belief systems in the modern school curriculum in Sri Lanka needs to be handled. It is because this is a sensitive issue that generally provokes much debate and discussion in the country. In as much as the Sunday schools have the obligation of teaching religion, the schools still need to show the subject to the learners. It is a situation that would enable the learners who don't attend Sunday schools to get the ample chance to learn about religion. Consequently, the process of outlawing tuition classes on Sundays is founded on the need to enable as many learners as possible to attend the Sunday schools. The schools need to teach the religious values to augment what the Sunday schools are doing. It is in such ways that the schools and teachers would aid in bringing up citizens that have good moral values in the Sri Lankan society (Fernando 30). Religious education does not need to be detached from the learning institutions, but it should preferably be maintained whereas the missionary schools need to come up with the necessary regulations and directions that would enhance how the religious studies are carried out.
How religious studies are being conducted in the missionary schools in the country has also raised more questions. It is because the nature and purpose of the religious studies are neither fixed to the various aspects of the discipline nor restricted to specific contents. The reviews usually respond to the influences, challenges, and temporal contexts that transpire in society. It becomes cumbersome when one has to browse a wide range of topics that were published close to sixty years ago to comprehensively acknowledge the nature of the religious studies being taught (Stirrat 31). It is for this motive as to why the missionary schools need to develop the mechanisms in which the response to the issues that occur in the contemporary society by recognizing significant matters and trying to come up with religious solutions to the problems. It is in such ways that the continued provision of religious studies in the schools would have remarkable impacts on the lives of the learners.
As currently instituted, the missionary schools frequently teach the learners the importance of the Catholic itself. The learners get to understand that their Catholic identity is influenced by many factors such as the nature of the diverse student population as well as the nature of the teachers' religious affiliations. Consequently, the teacher formation in these schools can hugely affect both Catholic identity and also the faith-based programs that are being carried out in the institutions. The instructors who have been employed in these institutions need to have the spiritual knowledge and skills that are diversified. It would allow them to handle all the learners who properly attend the missionary schools, especially when it comes to the teaching of religious subjects. For instance, despite the missionary schools being allowed only to teach Christian studies, appropriate adjustments can be made to allow even the Muslims, Buddhists, and Hindus to attend the missionary learning institutions (Fernando 102). It would imply that the schools would recruit even the non-Catholic instructors to aid in the teaching of the various religious studies. For instance, the missionary schools need to allow the Muslim students to have a Muslim teacher who would teach them Islam as a theological study in the institutions. The aspect of focusing only on the Catholic identity in the missionary schools which generally follow the Catholic school curriculum hinders the spread of religious studies in various parts of the country.
Given the diversified religions that exist in the country, the Catholic school curriculum does not have to be strict on how other religious studies are being conducted in the country. It is in such ways that the universal religion studies would be realized and the system would also make it possible for all the pupils and students in the country to feel free attending any religion of their wish and still get to acquire the necessary education at the Catholic school curriculum (Fuller 135). As currently constituted, the Catholic school curriculum needs to do away with the unnecessary limitations that have been put in place to ensure that only Christianity is being taught in the learning institutions. It is a situation that hinders the growth of the other religious studies in the country.
The number of pupils and students who are not Catholics but get enrolled in the Catholic schools have been increasing steadily. Despite the worries that this is a scenario that could detrimentally affect the Catholic identity of those schools, the aspect of restricting the teaching of other religions such as Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism would not aid in regulating the issue amicably. It is for this motive as to why when the government wants to realize the provision of universal education adequately, and then it needs to come up with the legislative policies that would ensure that all the religion studies are being taught at the Catholic school curriculum. It is in such ways that the missionary schools in the country would not in any way try to hinder the growth of other religious studies. Even though much attention would be given to the Catholic identity, the schools need to allow other doctrines to be equally taught to the learners whose faith are not Christianity.
The regime needs to intercede to sufficiently safeguard the religious teachings that are being conducted in the missionary schools as they are based on Catholic Christian environment. The necessary policies and regulations need to be established to understand how the religious activities are conducted in such institutions (Fernando 347). One of the significant factors that need to be taken into consideration is that of the personality of the eminent teacher. Basing the religious education system on the distinguished characters of the teachers would go a long way towards enhancing the forms of religious studies that the school provides to the learners in the country. The personality of the spiritual teachers plays an integral role in ensuring that the religious studies and its contexts improve the moral values and the behaviors of the students and pupils in schools. The modifications with regards to the personality of the spiritual teachers need to be applied to all the spiritual teachers irrespective of whether they teach Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, or Buddhism.
The matter of religion in exams in Sri Lanka has been in existence since the pre-colonial period when the only traditional system of education in the country was 'Piriven.' Piriven refereed to the schools that were mainly being run by monks. The primary objective of having these learning institutions was to teach the young Buddhists in the society, the way of Buddhism. However, when the country got into the colonial era, the system of education in Sri Lanka was refurbished following the introduction of the missionary schools. Following the presentation of these schools, the populace adopted the colonial lifestyle, and this led to the introduction of both English as a language and Christianity (Fernando 359). The Sri Lankans who attended the missionary schools occupied the top civil servant positions as they were favored by the colonial government. Also, their jobs were reserved as graduates in the society. It is a condition that made education in the country to become the site of conflict as opposed to learning. It led to the establishment of Tamil and Sinhala schools which were meant to rival the kind of education that the institutions which were run by the church were providing.
The hindrance of studying other religions in the Catholic school curriculum emerged because education has customarily been viewed in the country as having the objective of 'not providing knowledge but action' among the learners. It has led to the widening divisions in the Sri Lankan society as the educational backgrounds of individuals has made them develop nationalist sentiments that normally create majority-minority mindset as they are given life within such organizations. The schools in the country that are considered to be all-inclusive are currently being identified by their religious leanings. It is for this purpose as to why the elite Christian families in the country normally attend St. Thomas' college based in Colombo while the ones from the traditional Sinhala-Buddhist backgrounds go to Ananda College.
The fact that the Sri Lankan children are taught from a tender age that their identity is dependent on their religion has played a significant role in shaping the curriculum that the schools teach. It is on this basis as to why the ministry of education in the country and other major stakeholders in the education sector needs to come in and make the necessary adjustments not only in how Catholic school curriculum conducts its teachings activities but also the other religion-based learning institutions like Sinhala-Buddhism (Fernando 360). It is in such ways that universal religious studies would be taught to all the learners irrespective of the kind of school that they attend. As currently instituted, the Catholic school curriculum mainly tends to explain the Christian modules among the leaners as it discriminates against the teaching of other religions in the institutions. The contemplative practice of the Catholic faith in the modern Catholic school, curriculum entails three different kinds of instructions: catechetical theological guidelines, teaching doctrines, and explaining the Catholic faith.
The major problem that the country faces at the moment is that there is a strong interrelationship of religion and society that is usually being forged at early stages in the lives of the learners. Consequently, it makes the path of religion and politics to share a critical platform that affects how the country is governed. The Sri Lankan rulers in the traditional days relied on the advice and teachings of the clergy. However, post-colonialism ushered in a new era were the politicians held control over the masses. It made the political leaders recognize the importance of appealing to the views of the religious leaders as it would easily enable them to ascend to the leadership positions in the country. It is a situation that has equally affected how the political leaders make the decision when it comes to the provision of universal education among the Sri Lankan people. Those in political offices do not want to draft the policies that would lead to the practice of all religious studies in a single learning institution.
The political leaders believe that every learning institution needs to be leaned towards specific religion as this would make it easier for them to influence the verdicts of the Sri Lankan people via their religious leaders. It is for this purpose as to why the current problems of being intolerant to the re...
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