“Κnowledge issues in the official religious studies curricula of elementary education in Cyprus (1996, 2010, 2016/2019): continuities, shifts and oscillations”
Nikoletta Chrysostomou & Stavroula Philippou
Pages 143 – 178
A key debate attracting the attention of sociological curriculum research around the world over the last decades has been whether there is a shift in formal curricula from specialist academic knowledge towards eneric competencies and skills. This study contributes to this debate by analyzing the three most recent versions of the official curricular texts of elementary education curricula in religious studies in Cyprus (1996, 2010, 2016/2019). It does so by mapping school knowledge through productive content analysis processes, drawing on theoretical and sociological notions of curriculum with regards to the type and structure of the curriculum text (traditional-content and new-pedagogical types), the kinds of school knowledge as defined by social realism (Future 1, Future 2, Future 3), as well as the character of this knowledge as distinguished in special didactics literature on religious studies (namely between confessionary, biblical, ecclesiastical, cultural, intercultural and meta-religious characters). Despite the apparent stability of religious studies as a school subject-area in these formal curricular texts, the analysis allows particular continuities, discontinuities and oscillations between these types of knowledge to be traced. More particularly, in the most recent curricular texts, an idiosyncratic and complex combination of types and characters of knowledge is rendered visible, which is amplified by the changing type and structure of the curricular texts as official texts themselves; these findings problematize arguments which present the transition of formal curricula into sets of generic skills and competencies as a global phenomenon.