Only one sits in for religion studies

2012-11-29 00:00

A GRADE 12 pupil sat alone with the invigilator to write her last 2012 matric final exam, religion studies paper two.

Shornè Bennie (19) of Bethel Academic School in Northdale was the only matriculant at the school, which is situated at Bethel Ministries.

She was one of 223 pupils who wrote the paper in KwaZulu-Natal yesterday, said the KZN Department of Education.

This was out of 156 840 candidates who registered for the 2012 National Senior Certificate Examination.

Bennie, who wrote for two hours, said it was a nice paper to end the exams.

With religion studies seemingly being the least popular subject to do at school, Bennie said she chose it because she wanted to learn more about other religions.

“I wanted to broaden my horizon and it also helps me not to discriminate against others.”

Bennie said she wanted to follow a career path in jewellery design or geography.

School principal Manilaal Moses said the school used the Accelerated Christian Education (ACE) syllabus, which is a Christian-based schooling system.

He said religion studies was not popular anymore, adding that their school was the only one in the region that offered the subject. Even other Christian schools did not offer it.

University of KwaZulu-Natal head of research in post-graduate studies in religion, philosophy and classics, Dr Simangaliso Kumalo, said religion studies used to be one of the key subjects in society.

But there has been a shift to a much more secular curriculum, according Kumalo.

“Now there is more emphasis on maths and science than religion because of shortage of skills and it’s not as strong as it used to be,” Kumalo said.

He said humanities subjects, including history, were struggling. However, he called it a “phase”, adding that there were still people who took interest in those studies.

He said as long as there were still churches and mosques, religion would remain.

Careers in religious studies included working at faith-based organisations, teaching, the priesthood, counselling, academics and research.

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