Religious Education in Cyprus
Religious education is considered to be a humanity subject and is a compulsory subject for pre-primary, primary and secondary education and is taught twice a week. In pre-primary and primary education the educators of religious education are not specialised. However in secondary education the teachers that teach religious education are usually specialised in Orthodox Christianity.
Aims of Religious Education
Religious education is taught under the title Christian Orthodox Education and has a variety of aims that are listed below.
1) Students should be able to understand the history of the presence of god and to answer the basic questions of human existence.
2) To experience the teachings and work of Jesus Christ
3) The understanding of the Christian love of all people regardless of their race, religion or skin colour.
4) An introduction to the basic concepts and aspects of other religions to develop an understanding and respect for other peoples religious beliefs.
5) Develop the skills to appreciate Orthodox ethics and traditions and to use them in everyday life.
6) To understand the benefits of the Orthodox Church in regards to the development and progress of civilisation.
7) To develop the understanding of collective worships and to encourage the participation in them.
8) To promote the responsibility of the continuation of the Orthodox way of life and faith.
Religious education is not only based on the syllabus of Cyprus but also that of Greece. Textbooks used in this subject are edited by the Ministry of Education of Cyprus and Greece. The text books edited by the Ministry of Greece are based on the Greek syllabus which exhibits some additional aims.
1) To teach the meaning, symbols and tradition of the Orthodox faith.
2) To experience a loving relationship with god and their fellow man.
3) Students should understand the meaning of the Gospels and appreciate the moral and spiritual values of Orthodox Christianity.
4) To realize they are members of the family of Jesus’ and so participate in the collective worships of the Orthodox Church.
Religious Education Textbooks
There are mainly six textbooks used for the teaching of religious education in Cyprus for the primary years. The textbooks used are written by committees that are appointed by the government of Cyprus or Greece. The expense is covered by the Ministry of Education & Culture and they are distributed free to every pupil and every public school in Cyprus.
These textbooks are almost exclusively used in the teachings of religious education as the content is authorised in the national curriculum of Cyprus. Teachers also have a handbook that gives guidelines and some teaching strategies on the teaching of religious education.