The Multi-Faith Approach Gap in Light of the Zimbabwe Junior Secondary and ‘O’ Level Religious Studies Syllabi
There have been debates in regard to the teaching and learning of religious education (R.E.) in Zimbabwe where the approach has exclusively favoured Christianity at the expense of other religions. The major problem arises from mistaking religious education for Christian education; religious education teachers for pastors; religious education pupils for Christians, hence the dominance of the confessional approach in the teaching and learning of religious education. Advocacy calls from different religious groupings have been heard lobbying for a change of the religious education syllabus so as to broadly incorporate other religions hence the Zimbabwean religio-cultural diversity. What is paradoxically interesting is that, the aims of the religious education syllabi are multi-faith in orientation but with exclusivist content. It is then not surprising that most religious education teachers and stakeholders erroneously take the subject as meant to evangelistically extend the territories of Christianity against other religions. Learners have not been spared from that confessional understanding of religious education. The confessional attitude has hampered the academic and cross-cultural nature of religious education. This paper is a research that was carried out in the whole of 2013 to establish the attitude of teachers, heads of schools, pupils, parents and Curriculum Development Unit subject managers on the use of the multi-faith approach in teaching and learning of religious education. As a result, 5 Manicaland schools were randomly sampled, 150 pupils were given questionnaires, 5 heads of schools, and the Curriculum Development Unit Religious Studies manager were interviewed. As a result of the research, the article calls for the adoption of the multi-faith approach so as to close the gap between the aims and the content of the ‘O’ level religious education syllabi.