Louise Chircop

The Teaching of One Religion in a Pluralist Society. Implications on Curriculum, School Ethos and Teacher Attitudes in the Maltese Public School System

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Religious Education; Curriculum; Teachers; Minorities; Malta.

The Roman Catholic Religion is entrenched in the Constitution of Malta as being the religion 'of the Maltese people', a fact that has been taken for granted and rarely challenged. The Constitution also provides for the freedom of religious belief and while the teaching of the Catholic Religion is confessional, a good number of non-Catholic students are present in schools. There has never been a provision for non-Catholics to have lessons in their faith. The National Curriculum Framework (2012), provided for the teaching of Ethics for those students who opt out of Catholic Religious Education. However, Catholicism is imbued in the curriculum and ethos of state schools, and is not limited to the religion lessons. Thus, while Ethics is being offered in a number of schools, the curriculum and school ethos have not changed to reflect the pluralistic and multicultural presence in them. This paper seeks to do two things: firstly, to locate the ways in which the Catholic Religion influences the everyday school experience and how this impacts those students who do not identify with this religion. Secondly, it seeks to explore how the entrenching of the Catholic Religion in the ethos and practices of the school influence teachers' attitudes towards students who are not Catholic.

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