Religious pluralism for inclusive education in Lesotho secondary schools
Mokotso, Rasebate Isaac
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The current work employed qualitative phenomenological study to determine the reasons for the continued teaching of single Christian religious education in Lesotho secondary school in view that there are now compelling circumstances for pluralistic religious education. Central is the fact that Lesotho is cosigner of series of international declarations, conventions and recommendations on inclusive education which has a direct implication of inclusive teaching of religious education that can only be achieved through the teaching of multi-religious traditions. Secondly, Lesotho is no longer a religiously homogeneous society (even though this has not been the case since Christianity found the already existing Basotho indigenous religion). It is increasingly becoming a home for religious diversity through forces of a progressively globalized world. Thirdly, Lesotho is said to be a democratic state, and thus has to acquaint itself with democratic principles of education where selective knowledge rather than liberal knowledge that provide students with different perspectives is discouraged. In order to examine the reasons behind the continued mono-religious approach to the teaching of religious education regardless of the mentioned compelling factors for pluralist religious education, the study embarked on empirical research. Participants in this empirical research were selected on the basis of purposeful sampling where only those with rich information related to the topic were selected, mainly the religious education teachers and the principal. Semi-structured interviews were used to collect data which was analyzed through interpretive phenomenological analysis in which the emergent themes were interpreted through explanations provided by relevant literature. Emergent themes were further synthesized through qualitative inductive and ideography to develop theories or hypotheses of the contributing factors to the continued teaching of single Christian religion in Lesotho schools. It is theorized that the contributing interrelated factors are 1) misconceptions in inclusive education, 2) paternalistic religious education and 3) religious illiteracy. Through discussions in which theories or hypotheses were linked with the literature, it was discovered that the causes of misconceptions in inclusive education are inexplicit content of inclusive education and ambiguous implementation process. Paternalistic religious education is caused by assimilationist and evangelistic perspectives of Christian religious education, and religious illiteracy is caused by religious sectarianism, media religious representation of religion and privatization of religion. From the findings recommendations are made for research community, education policy, practice, students and communities, and theory.
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