The Significance of Context: Moral Education and Religious Education Facing the Challenge of Sustainability


Education for sustainable development as presented by UNESCO involves a value dimension which is both pivotal and problematic. Pivotal, because values concern what matters to beings, problematic because the values brought forward are formulated as universal values, with the risk of suppressing the plurality of context.

The first part of the article develops a theoretical approach for a research project on environmental ethical values in moral education which accommodates for both universality and context. While the scope is mainly theoretical, some empirical material is brought in to illustrate and exemplify. The school subject involved includes religious education, and the empirical material shows that religion is a part of the context. However, this aspect is not accentuated in the theoretical approach presented.

The second part is a mediation between this theoretical approach on moral education and the interpretive approach addressing religious education. The aim is to explore common ground, uncover factual tension and reflect on how both moral education and religious education may contribute to environmental and sustainability education.

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