Faith and Education in Bangladesh: Approaches to Religion and Social Cohesion in School Textbook Curricula

Authors: Aisha Binte Abdur Rob Sudipta Roy Samia Huq Katherine Marshall

June 22, 2020

Bangladesh’s education systems face new challenges as the disruptions linked to the COVID-19 crisis have closed schools and stimulated debates about future priorities and opportunities. Acute socioeconomic pressures and interreligious tensions in neighboring countries reveal fault lines among communities and highlight the importance of positive approaches to building social cohesion in a richly diverse society. These changes raise the bar on demands for quality approaches that address the ethos and skills essential for plural modern societies. Among critical issues are how religious topics are taught in schools and how these curricula support social cohesion objectives. This paper presents findings of a review of religious teaching in school textbooks, conducted to explore how far these curricula contribute to the nation’s social cohesion objectives and to identify areas of concern and potential improvement.

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