Problems Encountered in the Teaching of Religious Education: A Case Study in Botswana

Article excerpt

Introduction

The purpose of this paper is to illuminate the types of problems faced by teachers since Religious Education was introduced as an examinable subject in primary schools in Botswana. Botswana as a democratic, caring and prosperous country embraces the existence of different religions and worship. This is a welcome development since the country upholds human rights, respects and recognizes the different freedoms enshrined in the national constitution. Despite the different religions that exist in the country, Batswana generally in different forms of art and at the highest level of political decision-making find solace in psychological and humanistic relieve in different components of Christianity as the ultimate solution to existing problems of drought, war, student riots, broken and threaten marriages and other crises including the scourge of HIV/AIDS. This is typified in different forms of prayers held mainly by the mainline churches to call upon the name of God for self-counselling, fitting remedies and ultimate solutions to diverse problems that beset Botswana as a nation.

The study is significant because it is likely to inform the theory of both primary and Adult Education. Primary school teachers may use the findings to better teach Religious education without making it a burden to their students since the problems will be known. The study is also important for the theory and practice of Adult education which is practiced on a lifelong basis within and outside in religious institutions. Past researchers have illuminated problems of having different religions and the clash between Christianity and African religions. Theorists can build new ones while practitioners can infuse the findings and recommendations of the study to improve practice at field world in schools.

Literature Review

The literature and research reviewed by the author at the time of the study ranges from secondary sources on the meaning of religion, and the intended role played by religious education to problems encountered by both students and teachers in teaching Religious Education as an examinable subject in Botswana's primary schools. Religion, order and social justice are expected to inter related concepts that bring about global peace at individual family, community, national and international levels. The three are also filtered in the realm of the human mind and translated into practice, hence the influence of humanistic psychology. In Botswana, recorded Adult education as a field of study, research and an academic discipline is still young, dynamic and therefore in the process of finding its identity. In simple terms, Adult education refers to all organized educational activities to meet the lifelong learning needs of people whose socio-cultural roles define them as adults. Qualifications for adult status in various countries include age, maturity, reproduction, gender roles and other features often identified with social responsibility.

Definitions and Functions of Religion and Religious Education

Religion and Religious education can be defined in terms of two major streams, the African traditional stream and the foreign stream of religion.

African traditional and Christianity as a foreign import are described in the contrast table below. Africans including Batswana have beliefs in gods, ancestors, and other supernatural beings for lifelong protection. Religion in the Western sense is usually identified with a superior being and

A Belief in a supreme being, who commands us to behave in a moral fashion on this earth, and promises an afterlife to come (Giddens, p. 531).

The superior being, although often equated to some kind of God, means different things to different people, hence the God exists in a context. One of the common goals of religion and religious education is to deal with differences by accommodating people constructively (Sidorkin, 1999). …

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