In contemporary European societies children grow up and form their identities in a world of diversity and plurality.  Together with the increasing number of multi-faith classrooms, this emphasises the need to equip prospective teachers and teacher educators, and thereby also pupils, with adequate interreligious and intercultural skills and competences that allow them to navigate such complex and diverse contexts and cope with the resulting implications for the individual life-styles. Subjects like Religious Education (RE) or Ethics play an important role in facilitating the discussion of these issues and offering answers and explanations.

RE in public schools in Europe is designed in many ways. Each country’s respective situation and form of organization differs significantly for mainly historical reasons. Despite the different contexts, an increasingly widespread discussion about the possible future of RE takes place. These discussions, however, are rarely linked together and have not yet reached the level of teacher education and training. Future religion teachers are normally only rather superficially familiar with the situation of RE (and related subjects) in other European countries and thus insufficiently prepared for a joint European perspective.

In addition, RE is faced with growing religious and ideological diversity of pupils and stakeholders alike across the entire European area. Current changes to the curricula and school structure, as well as wider debates on religion in the public sphere, have produced noticeable controversy about the place of RE in schools, how it should be delivered and what young people should be taught.

German and Scottish Students in Aberdeen

The scope and purpose of the READY project

In the three-year Erasmus+ project “Religious Education and Diversity – Sharing experiences of and approaches to teacher education in the context of ‘Education and Training 2020’ (READY)”, teacher training institutions in Germany, England, Austria, Scotland and Sweden are therefore exploring the topic ‘Religion and Diversity’ in two respects: the mutual exchange of diverse forms of Religious Education and the variety of approaches to subject teaching and learning, in which the question of religious heterogeneity is considered and discussed. The results are being examined and proposals for teaching Religion and Diversity in Europe will be published.

The main target group of the project are teacher trainees for Religious Education. The project began with a structured online communication between trainee teachers from different European countries. This process lead to the development of educational modules on ‘Religion and Diversity’ exchanged between the teacher education institutions.

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