Encouraging the development of religious and spiritual education

On November 14, the Hong Kong Institute of Education (HKIEd) opened the doors of its Centre for Religious and Spirituality Education. In 2005, the HKIEd had noted a need to provide in-depth spiritual and religious studies for the teachers it trains. Enlisting the sponsorship of the Hong Kong Anglican Church (Episcopal), the Sik Sik Yuen (Wong Tai Sin), the Ching Chung Taoist Association of Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Buddhist Association and the Hong Kong Catholic diocese, made the establishment of the new centre possible.

Professor Luk Hung-kay, vice president of the HKIEd, observed education has been affected by a market-oriented mindset, with everything driven by business management objectives and methods. Inevitably, this leads to a linking up with economic and business considerations.

In recent years, discussions concerning education have always focussed on productivity and competitiveness. In addition to this, the major concern of many parents has been too strongly centred on the career paths of their children.

With the establishment of the centre at the HKIEd, the study of religion and spirituality becomes an academic subject accessible outside the confines of religious establishments such as seminaries, convents and the like. This is something that can only enrich and broaden the horizons of future students. The coming together of the sponsoring religious organisations in this endeavour has been invaluable and it is heartening that they have set out a clear, common goal without the hard-sell. This is a most rewarding end-result and will be a valuable and long-lasting contribution to education in Hong Kong.

There has been nothing like this before in the territory, where religious and spiritual education offered at a secular, tertiary, institution where all may avail of the chance to study and comment on the various religions of the world from the viewpoint of their respective traditions and dogmas, and understand the influences these have had on the spiritual lives of people. Students can now gain insights into various aspects of spiritual life, while also enriching and bettering their own.

Be that as it may, the establishment of the HKIEd’s Centre for Religious and Spirituality Education does not, in any way, mean we can relax religious education within the Catholic Church. We have a duty to promote evangelisation through teaching about Jesus and preaching the Gospel.

In September 2006, the diocese set up the Religious and Moral Education Curriculum Centre, which has been designing a curriculum and developing teaching materials to provide continuing guidance for all Catholic schools from pre-school all the way up to the secondary level-an extensive and arduous undertaking. We must also highlight the outstanding performance of the Diocesan Catechetical Centre, which, through 41 graduating classes, has produced numerous religion teachers over the past 40 years or so. Their experience must be valued.

It would be good to see Catholic schools enhance and nurture the spiritual and moral foundations of teachers and, by extension, students. And down the road, we look forward not only to the continuing individual excellence of both the Religious & Moral Education Curriculum Centre and the Diocesan Catechetical Centre, but also to a joining of hands in carrying out the apostolic mandate given to us by Christ.

SE

Sunday Examiner, November 19, 2006

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~ by anick on November 19, 2006.

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