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date: 12 August 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter describes how the historic development of different nation-states around the world, as well as the diverse understandings of the term “religion” in different places at different times, shape the understanding of the proper role of religion in the public and government schools of different countries. From indigenous practices where oral traditions and ritual observances first transmitted cultural values, to formal schooling in religious and vocational education, and to the development of education for elites and the earliest universal education up to the present day, religion has been an influential force in formal and informal decisions about education. Examining the religious, educational, and political histories of select countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and North America, the chapter explores the complex interaction of history, religious influences, and assumptions about schooling, all of which lead to a great diversity of practices in the schools of the twenty-first century.

Keywords: religion, government schools, mission schools, First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, laicité, secularity

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