This new report urges policymakers to move beyond “multiculturalism” and towards Intercultural Education – saying the latter engages with differences between beliefs.
This excerpt from the Foreword sets the scene.
Our founding premise is that belief is something that is “lived”. In other words, how individuals express their personal belief. We therefore focus less on textbooks and abstract theological debates and instead prioritise the simple act of bringing people of different faiths and beliefs together to create connections and enable learning and dialogue. Our belief is that, when properly implemented, this type of work can better interactions, improve skills, and increase confidence, which in turn creates shifts in perceptions, attitudes, and behaviours (an insight that is increasingly backed up by studies by social-psychologists and others).
Nevertheless, we know that there is still a long way to go. Prejudice is taking an increasingly religious turn with both anti-semitism and Islamophobia on the rise across Europe (hate crimes against Jews and Muslims are both at their highest level since records began). Policy approaches have become increasingly prescriptive as mainstream politicians seek to respond to the spectre of the populist movements that are spreading across Europe.
This is particularly the case in education where dialogue-based approaches are being replaced by top-down initiatives that prioritise values and assimilation. IE offers a more sustainable, humane and, we believe, effective alternative.
This reports sets out a roadmap for how IE methods and practices could become more embedded in mainstream education and wider community policy. This report is aimed at decision-makers at different educational, communal, and policy levels locally, nationally and internationally. It firstly analyses the implications of recent reforms to community policies and schools for the future of inter-cultural education in the UK. Secondly, it sets out some principles that can help guide the implementation of good IE practice (and help avoid some of the pitfalls) gleaned from learning in both the UK and Sweden. And finally it proposes a series of principles which could make it possible to roll out IE across schools and communities.