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Educ. Sci. 2018, 8(4), 220;

Values Education or Religious Education? An Alternative View of Religious Education in the Secular Age, the Case of Turkey

Religious Education Department, Kocaeli University, Umuttepe Kampüsü, İzmit.Kocaeli 41380, Turkey
Received: 15 November 2018 / Revised: 2 December 2018 / Accepted: 12 December 2018 / Published: 19 December 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Education and Religion in a Secular Age)
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Debates about the teaching of religion date back to the formation of the modern education system, when religion was first compartmentalized as a distinct subject within a broader curriculum. In many places, they continue to rage today. In Turkey, they are inextricably tied to the creation of the country’s system of secular public instruction in the 1920s and the transition to multi-party government in the 1940s. On 30 March 2012, Turkey passed a new law that revamped the country’s public educational system, mandating twelve years of instruction divided into three four-year periods (roughly corresponding to elementary, middle, and high school). This law led to the opening of many new religious schools—known as Imam-Hatip schools (i.e., schools for the training of imams and hatips, or preachers)—across the country, especially at the middle-school level. The number of students studying in these schools rose from 70,000 in 2002 to 1,300,000 after the new law. New elective courses on religion were also added to the curriculum, and curricular and extra-curricular religious-education activities offered by government-sponsored Islamic civil society organizations became more prevalent. All of this has reignited old debates about religious instruction in the country. This article begins with an overview of the history of secularism in Turkey. It then focuses on the history of religious education and the model of religious education in Turkey. It concludes with a discussion of how religious education centering on values education operates within the secular framework of public education in confessional and non-confessional formats. View Full-Text
Keywords: secularism; religious education; values education secularism; religious education; values education
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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GENÇ, M.F. Values Education or Religious Education? An Alternative View of Religious Education in the Secular Age, the Case of Turkey. Educ. Sci. 2018, 8, 220.

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