After the first year, they can opt out of Christianity classes for other “broader” choice areas of study.
Daily Mail reports that students reading theology at Oxford University have managed to overturn the 800-year-old tradition that they have to study Christianity throughout their course. Changes are being made to the three-year undergraduate degree to keep up with the changing face of Britain.
Students will study Christianity in their first year but from second year onward will have the option of a broader choice of areas to study.
These modules will include one called ‘feminist approaches to religion and theology,’ according to the Telegraph. The move, which was initially reported in the Times Higher Education magazine was instigated by both students and lecturers who challenged the lack of diversity in the curriculum.
They said that the way religion is seen and practiced in the UK had changed dramatically over recent years.
Oxford University’s theology faculty’s board chairman Johannes Zachhuber told the magazine: ‘Theology students at Oxford will no longer have to study Christianity after their first year of university, after pupils challenged the lack of diversity in the current course structure.’
He did say that he doubted many students would chose not to study Christianity at all, but that he personally would be in favor of them choosing subjects like ‘Buddhism in space and time’. Driving force behind the move away from the study of Christianity entirely, was ‘the dramatic change in the way religion is seen and practiced in the UK,’ according to Professor Zachhuber.
‘The dominance of the Church of England has been receding but at the same time religion hasn’t disappeared.
‘We want to offer to potential students what is interesting for them and that has changed a lot in the last 30 years.
‘We recognize that the people who come to study at Oxford come from a variety of different backgrounds and have legitimately different interests. ‘They come from the respected communities of Britain.’
He added that if a university has a rigid curriculum, there would be a growing gap between what lecturers are researching and what they’re teaching.
A spokesman for Oxford University said: ‘Christianity is still compulsory in the first year of the course – in fact there are two compulsory papers on it. So all students on the course will study Christianity.
‘Christianity is still a major part of the course in second and third year, and it’s very unlikely that a student would choose options that do not cover Christianity in these years.’
(Via Daily Mail)
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