Spiritual education

12th March 2004 at 00:00
In a bid for "more integrated" education some politicians, as reported recently, want to abolish denominational schools. However, non-denominational schooling itself can be considered a form of religion.

This idea is discussed by Hannu Simola in a dissertation entitled The road to hell is paved with good intentions, which can be found in teacher education reports from Finland covering the years 1922 to 1991.

He wrote: "Education might be seen as the post-Christian, modern world religion where the state and the academia comprise the church, where school officials and educational scientists belong to the upper clergy, and teachers work as lower pastors. God consists of the trinity of the individual, the state and the markets. Progress, justice and qualification form the dogma, and the educational theory is its theology."

The paper concludes by citing John Meyer in The Handbook of Theory and Research for the Sociology of Education from 1986, Meyer gave reasons for need of broader and multiple perspectives in research on education.

He finishes the chapter by concluding: "In particular, it would be useful to add to the range of models routinely employed (in the sociology of education) conceptions of education as a religious foundation of modern society."

No education is philosophically neutral and neither should it be. Instead of trying to deny choice, politicians should be seeking to expand it.

Ostap Melnick

Lister Gardens

Clarkston

Glasgow

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