Wednesday 25 November 2020 ,
Wednesday 25 November 2020 ,
Latest News
20 October, 2020 05:29:27 PM
Print

Religious or moral education: A potential plan to revise Bangladesh’s curriculum

The comparative religious study would help students to have a holistic understanding of the virtuous nature of religions. Individual introspection will grab the religious wings without differing tendencies
Prithula Prosun Puja
Religious or moral education: A potential plan to revise Bangladesh’s curriculum

Bangladesh is experiencing an extremely large number of incidents of rapes as well as religious revivalism. By constitution, Bangladesh is a secular country ensuring every individual’s dignity and security. But unfortunately practical scenario is far from it. By the constitution, the state religion of Bangladesh is Islam. The constitution also includes secularism and equal co-existence of religious communities, different tribes, followers of opposite parties, etc. The country has its legal stand which forbids all forms of blasphemy and violation of religious and personal freedom including security to life.

After the rape incidents, religious assertion draws our attention. This is now a rising global issue. Despite steps taken by the Bangladesh government, about a dozen bloggers and general people got murdered over the last few years for commenting on religious issues. During the pandemic too, we faced news about religious oppression in the time of Eid-ul-Adha. Moreover, oppression, harassment, coercion and nuisance are very random in every aspect of daily life for the minorities. According to the 2011 census, two major religions in Bangladesh are Islam and Hinduism. Muslims constitute over 90% and Hindus only 8.5% of the population. The noticeable part is that the popular choice for self-identification, here, comes first to religion, then to nationality. Thus, religious extremism turns into religious sentimentalism in Bangladesh.

When it is about sentiment, the whole crisis demands a psychological analysis to focus on why and how. Highly organized social feeling gives birth to this sentiment, which combines cultural and societal senses with behaviours, being triggered by psychological autonomic responses. Repeated occurrences of similar actions in similar circumstances leave after effects in the brain, which gradually builds a person’s inner dispositions. Dispositions at some advanced level import complexes. Being stable, complexes result in sentiment which is a lengthy process starting from the very childhood. The natural formation of sentiment involves lots of factors among which the sense of difference or disintegration is undoubtedly predominant. 

Religious sentiment starts to develop from the very time when a child can differentiate things surrounded by him/her. Naturally, children get conditioned to grow respect and love for the religion their parents follow than that of others. They start to practice their family religion without having the comparative knowledge of other religions. Importantly, home provides the first schooling to children. After home, schools are the places where children spend most of the time, and this is more vital.

Most of the children develop their personalities from school as it's the first public space they enter into. Therefore, the school or education system has a responsibility to grow tolerance for other religious beliefs. But, the education system in Bangladesh seems to be unorganized and badly incompatible to cope up with the growing sense of religious aggression.

It is obvious that, institutional religious education must be arranged to ensure the common moral learning of all religions which promotes peace, justice, the welfare of human beings, harmonizing with Mother Nature, non-violence, love and kindness to every life, etc. Domestic care, alone, cannot make sure about that as the home environment is generally mono-religious.

In Bangladesh, the education system approves religious study from class three to class ten. Under the subject, there are separate books for different religions, acknowledging Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Christianity. Generally four different teachers (not obviously of four different religions) attend classes in four different classrooms. After attending all other classes together in one classroom, students get separated at some specific hour for learning religious lessons and values. That moment they mark themselves alike to some and differentiate others: “we are Muslims and they are Hindus”, “we are more and they are few”, “some big and well-decorated classrooms should be ours and the less ones be theirs”, etc. In the case of examinations too, they get assessed differently by different teachers.

Adversely, there is no specific system to employ proper teachers of every distinct kind of religion for teaching religious discourses properly, especially in the primary education. Moreover, training sessions are least to upgrade teachers for religious studies. On the other side, individual training sessions for all other subjects are largely being run by the government as well as non-government organizations.

As a result of these deficiencies, students spend 15/16 years of their lives without having no proper moral sense of their religions, let alone that of other religions. They can’t have a holistic understanding of common moral teachings of all religions. Not knowing other religions, children lack respect for those. Fragmented knowledge of their religion involves comparison and partial judgment over others, which gives birth to a sense of superiority naturally.

Thus, the majorities gain a subconscious psyche of suppressing others. Gradually they hold the worst belief ever that they have the right to do whatever they want to do or whatever is suitable for them over the minorities. Importantly, absence of justice, in judicial function, inspires this kind of nuisance. It promotes one kind of bad faith that the way they act upon the minorities is just. In other words, they normalize their actions and justify those by the idea: “majority must be granted”.

This pattern of cultural thoughts endangers the state. Thus religious sentimentalism owes its birth to ignorance of holistic understanding regarding religious teachings of all religions that religion says nothing to cause harm to human beings or other lives. Therefore, the education system should ensure the sense of tolerance and respect for all religions. Thus it can contribute to diminishing this crisis to a great extent.

But in Bangladesh, the existing education system, particularly concerning the religious study, cannot cope up with the responsibilities to be fulfilled. So far religious study accommodates various kinds of differentiation, it will fail to perform its role in establishing peace among all existing religions. Therefore religious teaching should be common for all students under the ultimate shade of moral values or ethical stands of all religions. Not from class three, just from the very start of institutional education children should be provided with moral lessons (dependent or independent of religious perspective).

From a comparatively higher level (say for class three or four), religious study might be introduced within the scope of moral lesson, but may not involve separate books with different contents conducted by different teachers in separated classrooms. There can be just one book titled as “Moral Teachings of Religions” (or something like this) which would contain only the ethical teachings or morals of every religion under specific chapters. There must be experts who will conduct the course as teachers. National or international seminars and training programmes should be arranged to develop the teaching-learning environment of religious study to comprehend the common moral aspects of world religions. Recruiting ethics expertise as a teacher should be advanced and monitored to ensure proper functioning.

This type of comparative religious study would help students to have a holistic understanding of the virtuous nature of religions. Individual introspection will grab the religious wings without differing tendencies. This will help to ensure a healthy co-existence of all religions. There will be the least scope for holding superior or inferior senses among communities. People will reserve respect for all religions equally. One thing will be established that harming others is no religion where at least extremism won’t be hyped, and people won’t turn to sentimentalism drastically.

The writer is a student of Jahangirnagar University, Email: [email protected]

Comments

Video
More Opinion Stories
Think positive and change life Habib, a postgraduate in English from Dhaka University, applied for a new job, but he didn't believe he would get it, since his self-esteem was low, and he considered himself as a failure and unworthy of success. And finally,…

Copyright © All right reserved.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Disclaimer & Privacy Policy
....................................................
About Us
....................................................
Contact Us
....................................................
Advertisement
....................................................
Subscription

Powered by : Frog Hosting