Study of scriptures helps, teachers say

21 November 2014

iSTOCK

ALMOST three-quarters of teachers questioned in a new survey believe that the education system can play a bigger part in resolving interreligious and ethnic strife. They think that it could help to improve the behaviour of the next generation of British society towards problems both in the UK and overseas, an online survey by YouGov for the Bible Society found.

The survey of 795 teachers in schools in England and Wales also found that two in five (42 per cent) think that teaching religious and sacred texts in more of the school curriculum would improve their students' cross-cultural understanding of minority groups.

Almost half said that the Bible and other sacred texts should be included in personal, social, health, and economic education (PSHE); 46 per cent in citizenship; and more than a quarter in history classes. Almost a third thought that it would improve students' general social development. Four per cent thought that there was no place for such teachings in school.

The group chief executive of the Bible Society, James Catford, said: "Understanding religion is essential to understanding and engaging in the modern world. It's not surprising that teachers support giving space to sacred texts in the classroom. Engaging with the Bible is essential to a good education. The Bible has not only shaped our politics, art, literature, and music, it also helps change the lives of individuals and societies.

"We believe that every child has the right to encounter the Bible. We must work together to break down the barriers that prevent us from passing on the Bible in our schools for the benefit of future generations."

A separate YouGov poll for the Bible Society of 566 children, aged between eight and 15, found that almost two-thirds thought it important to know about different religions, but a number had a negative view of those who were religious, or who were from a different religion from theirs.

In a debate on the findings organised by the Bible Society this week at the House of Commons, a panel of Muslim, Jewish, Christian, and Humanist representatives agreed that religious education could have a positive impact on community cohesion.

www.biblesociety.org.uk

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