Religious Education (RE) is a mandatory subject in state schools in Britain. In a recent study, Insight UK, a social movement of British Hindus, found many concerns across the country among parents and educationalists around the availability, content and quality of teaching Hinduism as part of the RE curriculum in schools.
The group fears that errors in resource content, lack of understanding among teachers and incorrect references could create a lot of harm and have an adverse impact on the youth, affecting future generations. It led to the organisation’s first report entitled ‘A report on the state of Hinduism in Religious Education in UK Schools’, which evaluates the situation and makes some recommendations for expanding the RE syllabus for schools.
“The lack of awareness about the Hindu religion among non-Hindu students deprives them of a world view, as well as the religion and culture of one of the largest and most contributing minority communities in the country. This results in ignorance and insensitivity towards Hindu people and their beliefs. This can even lead to racial hate crime,” warns Insight UK’s report.
The organisation conducted a month-long online survey in September-October 2020, which garnered responses from all four nations of the United Kingdom.
“The report provides evidence that the subject is not available for most students taking GCSE exams, despite Hindus being the third-largest religious group in the UK,” the report finds.
“Data captured showed that the majority of British Hindus were dissatisfied with the teaching of Hinduism in UK schools and unhappy with teachers’ knowledge of the subject,” it adds.
The project was supported and guided by groups such as the Hindu Forum of Britain, Hindu Council UK, National Council of Hindu Temples (UK), Vishwa Hindu Parishad (UK) and Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (UK).