Religious Education in a Multicultural Context: School and Home in Comparative Context (REMC)
This Seventh Framework Programme for research and technology development (FP7) is a collaborative project involving Ireland and 4 other EU countries (Belgium, Germany, Malta and UK).
The Irish partners are UCD (Principal Investigator: Professor Kathleen Lynch) and the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) (Principal Investigator and overall Project Coordinator: Dr Emer Smyth).
Members of the research team include:
This study explores the transmission of religious beliefs and values through the education system and the family across different EU country contexts. Firstly, it examines the importance of religious denomination in school choice. Secondly, it explores how religious beliefs and values are transmitted in the course of primary education across different countries.
The study will use both primary research and secondary analysis of existing data sources. The study will use existing cross-national data to assess the treatment of majority and minority religious groups along with those with secular beliefs across different European contexts. This will identify different models of how religious belief is treated in diverse educational systems.
Located within this broad overview, primary research will be carried out in primary schools in Belgium (Flanders), Germany, Ireland, Malta, and Scotland, countries with very different religious compositions and educational systems.
The research will involve case-studies of schools selected to capture diversity in school policy and practice. Within these schools, interviews will be carried out with school principals, teachers, members of the board of management, parents and students themselves to provide a holistic picture of the interaction between home and school in shaping the transmission of religious belief. The results of the study will be disseminated widely through seminars and publications as well as a public website.
This innovative project will contribute to the conceptualisation of religious socialisation within multicultural settings and to policy development in the educational arena by highlighting the role of religion in school choice as well as potential tensions between home and school regarding religious formation and practice.