The major characteristic of religious education is to equip students with a set of values with reference to its religious doctrines. Vermeer (2010) pointed out that religious education may influence students with some basic democratic values like equality, tolerance and non-discrimination. Various Western literature highlights the influence of religion on students’ civic and social values development (see Grundel and Maliepaard, 2012; Pike, 2008; Vermeer, 2010; Gates 2006). However, the study of this topic in Chinese contexts is quite limited (Zhai & Woodberry, 2011; Cheung et al., 2016). Hong Kong and Taiwan are part of East Asia with similar set of values (Cho & Kim, 2013; Karsten et al., 2002). Religious bodies like Buddhist organizations and Christian churches play a significant role in both Hong Kong and Taiwan education development (Cheung et al., 2016; Zhai & Woodberry, 2011). They operate various secondary and primary schools. Religious education is part of their curriculum and makes these schools different from secular schools. This paper aims to explore the influence of religion on secondary students’ civic and social values development in both societies. By making use of the focus group interview, this study collected data from schools with four different types of religious background, including Buddhism, Catholicism, Protestantism and Atheism (no religious affiliation) and making comparison between Hong Kong and Taiwanese students. The findings provide a better understanding about the influence of religion on Chinese students’ citizenship development in both societies but the results differ from those found in Western studies. The implications of these results for theory building and policy are discussed. Copyright © 2017 The Education University of Hong Kong.
|Publication status||Published - Nov 2017|