Education, both secular and religious, can promote democratic principles and social justice while preparing students to cope with the complexities of adult life, EI General Secretary Fred van Leeuwen told 500 teachers attending the annual conference of the Kuwait Teachers’ Society on 23 March.
“Education is one of the most effective tools to achieve democracy, equality and social progress. We do not consider religious education to be in contradiction with these ideals. On the contrary, religious education could enhance these principles and help students to better cope with the complexities of human values and practice them in their adult lives,” van Leeuwen said.
He commended the teachers’ organisation of Kuwait for its active role in the development of curriculum for this sometimes contentious subject matter.
Van Leeuwen noted that while teachers’ organisations are the guardians of the teaching profession, striving for an improvement of professional standards, they are also expected to protect their members’ rights and employment conditions. “For that purpose we need strong, independent and democratic trade unions,” according to Van Leeuwen. He pointed out that these organizations would also be able “to make significant contributions to the democratic and political future of your region, the Middle East.”
Some 500 delegates attended the three-day conference in Kuwait City which had as its theme: “Preparing our future teachers.” They discussed a variety of professional issues including quality standards, curriculum development and evaluation of teachers’ performance.
For the full text of the comments made by the EI General Secretary (in Arabic and English), follow the links below.