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UTVB2200 Education and Religion in Development

The course description is approved 22.05.12 by the Dean on behalf of the Academic Affairs Committee, Faculty of Education and International Studies and revised 23.05.13. Minor change approved 03.06.2016. Latest revision approved by the Academic Affairs Committee 11.05.17. Reading list updated 22.12.2015. Valid from spring semester 2018.


The Faculty of Education and International Studies at Oslo and Akershus University College (HiOA) offers interdisciplinary courses in Development Studies and North-South relations, leading to a Bachelor’s degree of 180 ECTS credits in Development Studies. This course on “Education and Religion in Development” is a course at the intermediate level and gives 10 ECTS credits.

The course will be taught in English or Norwegian, depending on needs according to the participants’ language abilities. The exam papers can be written in English, Norwegian, Swedish or Danish.

Admission Requirements

The course is open to students who have completed at least a one-year introductory course in Development Studies at either HiOA, the University of Agder or equivalent courses at other universities/university colleges in Norway or abroad.


Education, knowledge and competence are crucial elements in all theories and strategies for development. The course will focus specifically on the role of education in processes of social change as they have played out in history.Religion is an important foundation in many people’s lives and often influences educational systems. Religion also works as an educational praxis on its own terms, as part of people’s culture and ethos. The course will focus specifically on how religion is a crucial element in educational traditions, both historically and in contemporary societies. The course will take into consideration how education enables individual empowermentand stimulates national consolidation and poverty reduction. Further, it will be studied how modernization and globalization processes change education systems and give education new roles and importance in society.

Religion may be one important part of people’s identity, and a growing attention is given to its uses and misuses in the context of politics and political conflicts. The course will highlight the ways in which religion interplays with various dimensions of social organization and differences, such as class, caste, gender and ethnicity. The relationship between religion and development is also a topic of growing interests in newer research. Importance will be given to how globalization also reshapes the meaning of religion in the development processes.

Principal themes are:

a. Tradition, modernity and the role of education

The analysis will take up connections between concepts of knowledge, culture and education systems. It will further discuss the influence of educational traditions on quality and relevance on education systems in contemporary times.

b. Education, national identity and the challenge of globalization

The analysis will focus on the relationship between education and state power under the challenge of globalization, in the light of knowledge and competence as crucial factors in the competition for power in modern society.

c. Rights perspectives and “Education for All”

Analysis of education in international cooperation and how Rights perspectives can be ensured.

d. Tradition, modernity and the role of religion

The analysis will focus on the content of different religious traditions in regions in the South. It will address how religion works as part of the educational systems, and their reciprocal influence in shaping the societies.

e. Religion, development and globalization

The analysis will focus on the connections between the presence of religion amongst many people in societies in the South, how faith-based organizations take part in development processes.

Learning Outcomes

At the end of the course the student has obtained the following learning outcomes:


The student has knowledge of

  • the role of education in the process of social change
  • the role of different religious traditions as part of educational systems, and how these traditions interplay with patterns of change in different regions in the South
  • the role of education in nation building and in influencing individual growth, intellectually and emotionally
  • the Rights Perspective and how the policy goal of “Education for All” relates to the needs of various groups in society
  • the relationship between religion, educational systems and politics, and how numerous conflicts are related to religious identities
  • the influence of religion both on changing and maintaining social organization, and how it intersects with other differences


The student

  • can reflect critically on the role of education in the process of change in society and how religious traditions interplay

General competence

The student

  • is familiar with issues related to education, religion and development and can present them in an independent way, orally and in writing

Learning and Teaching Forms

The course will be running full time for six weeks. Seminar activities can be included in the lectures, where students are expected to participate actively.

Course Work Requirements

In order to be admitted to the examination the student shall fulfil the following course work requirement: one three to four-page assignments on topics given by the lecturer. The work requirement gives the students an opportunity to reflect on central topics in the course literature. The assignment shall be submitted within the set deadline. If necessary, the student and teacher can agree on an extended deadline for submission of the assignment. The assignment is evaluated with ‘accepted’ or ‘not accepted’. Students who get ‘not accepted’ on their assignment may rewrite and submit maximum two new versions of the assignment. The student shall contact the teacher to get a new evaluation.


Final assessment will be based on an individual written assignment for five days based on a given topic. The writing of the assignment must be based on the course literature. The paper should be of 3200 words (+/-10 %) / approx. 8 pages. An internal and external examiner will conduct the assessment of the paper.

A graded scale from A to E for passed and F for not passed will be used.

In case of failed exam/legal absence, the student can submit a new paper when a new/postponed exam is arranged. New or postponed exams are offered within a reasonable time span following the regular exam.

The student is responsible for applying for a new exam within the time limits set by HiOA and the Faculty of Education and International Studies. Regulations for new or postponed examinations are available in Regulations relating to studies and examinations at Oslo and Akershus University College. More information about registration and time for new or postponed examinations is available at the HIOA web site.


Spring 2017

Approx. 755 pages.

B: book - to be bought.

D: download from Fronter

E: ebok at the liberary

Changes might occur.

Arntsen, Hilde, & Ekström, Ylva. (2014). Finding One's Feet in Modernity. Young Women and the Global Media in Daar es Salaam and Harare. In Taiwo Oloruntoba-Oju & Kirsten Holst Petersen (Eds.), Culture and the Contemporary African. Uppsala: The Nordic Africa Institute. (30 p) D

Attewell, Paul and Katherine S. Newmann (2010). Growing Gaps: Educational Inequality around the World. New York: Oxford University Press. Chapters 1. (29 p). D

Bano, Masooda (2010). “Female Madrasas in Pakistan: a Response to Modernity” in Wolfson College, University of Oxford: Religions and Development Working Paper . P. 45 – 2010. (24 p.)  D

Borchgrevink, Kaja (2011). “Pakistan`s Madrasas: Moderation or Militancy? The madrasa debate and the reform process.” In Norwegian Peacebuilding Centre. Noref Report June 2011 . (15 p.)  D

Bourdieu, Pierre. (2006). “The forms of Capital” in H. Lauder, P. Brown, J-A. Dillabough, A.H. Halsey, (eds): Education, Globalization & Social Change . Oxford: Oxford University Press. (13 p). D

Buckingham, David. (2007). Childhood in the Age of Global Media. Children's Geographies, 5(1-2), 43-54. doi:10.1080/14733280601108155  (10 p)

Brant Castelliano, Marlene (2000): Updating Aboriginial Traditions of Knowledge, in Indigenous Knowledges in Global Contexts. Multiple readings of our world. Dei et.al. University of Toronto Press. (10 p.) D

Breidlid, Anders (2009). “Culture, indigenous knowledge systems and sustainable development: A critical view of education in an African context”, in International Journal of Educational Development , vol.29, March 2009. P. 15 – 23. Elsevier. (17 p). D

Freire, Paolo. (1996). Pedagogy of the Oppressed . Chapter 1. London: Penguin Books. (26 p). D

Fägerlind, I. & L. J. Saha (1989). Education & Development. A comparative Perspective . Oxford: Pergamon. Chapter 6. (21 p) D

Haar, Geri ter (2011) Religion and Development: Ways of Transforming the World . New York: Columbia University Press . Part one, chapter 1, 2 and 3 (p. 3-81), part three, chapter 7 and 12(p.159-183 and -273-295) (124 p.) B

Kunin, Seth D. (2005) Religion – The Modern Theories . Edinburgh University Press Ltd. Chapter 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6, 9, 10 (120 p).  B

Law, Wing-Wah (2002). “Legislation, education reform and social transformation: the People’s Republic of China’s experience” in International Journal of Educational Development, vol. 22. Elsevier. P 579-602. (23 p) D

Liu, Fengshu (2004). “Basic education in China’s rural areas: a legal obligation or and individual choice?” in International Journal of Educational Development, vol. 24. Elsevier. P 5-21. (16 p) D

Livingstone, Sonia, & Bulger, Monica. (2014). A Global Research Agenda for Children's Rights in The Digital Age. Journal of Children and Media. doi:10.1080/17482798.2014.961496  (18 p)

Nordtveit, Bjørn Harald (2009). “Western and Chinese development discourses: Education, growth and sustainability” in International Journal of Educational Development, vol. 29. Elsevier. P 157-165.(12 p)  D

Reagan, Timothy (2005). Non-western Educational Traditions. Indigenous Approaches to Educational Thought and Practice . New York: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Chapter 1, 3, 6, 7, 9. (129 p). E

Sen, Amartya (2000). “Poverty as Capability Deprivation ” in Development As Freedom . US: Anchor Books. Chapter 4. (24 p). D

Tager, Michele. (2010). The black and the beautiful: Perceptions of (a) new Generation(s). Critical Arts: South-North Cultural and Media Studies, 24(1), 99-127. doi:10.1080/02560040903509226 (28 p) D

Thomas, Paul (2011). Religious education and the feminisation of witchcraft: a study of three secondary schools in Kumasi, Ghana. British Journal of Religious Education 34:1, 67-86, DOI: 10.1080/01416200.2011.592823 (21 p.)D

UNESCO. 2013/4 . EFA Global Monitoring Report. Teaching and Learning Achieving quality for all. Ch 4. P.186-213. Paris: UNESCO, http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0022/002256/225660e.pdf (26p).  D

Ver Beek, Kurt Alan. (2000). «Spirituality: a Development Taboo” in Development in Practice, Volume 10 no. 1 . Pp 31-43. (12 p.) D

Recommended reading

Abouet, Marguerite, & Oubrerie, Clément. (2007). Aya. Montréal: Drawn & Quarterly. (Norwegian edition of three first Aya titles: Aya fra Yopougon, O

(Literature list last updated: 22.12.2016)

About the course

Education and Religion in Development Bachelor’s Programme in Development Studies 10 ECTS 4. semester English or Norwegian 2017-2018
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