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Title: The ability of Islamic Religious Education to deliver Citizenship Education in elementary schools in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Author: Alharbi, Badr Abdullah M.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5365 0170
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2015
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This empirical study endeavours to shed light on the ability of Islamic Religious Education to deliver Citizenship Education in elementary schools (pupils aged 13 to 15) in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The aims of the study are to explore teachers’ and students’ perceptions of the knowledge, skills, values and attitudes that Saudi citizens need in the 21st century. As part of this, it investigates the views of Social Studies and Islamic Religious Education teachers and students with a view to understanding where in the curriculum they think Citizenship Education should best occur. The study identifies and explores the challenges and opportunities of including Citizenship Education within both Islamic Religious Education and Social Studies. The merits of each approach are discussed. There then follows a series of recommendations regarding the sort of changes to the curriculum that may be required. The research underpinning this study followed a mixed-method approach. It employed an closed-ended questionnaire with two parts of open questions completed by over 266 students (ages 13 to 15), and 20 Islamic Religious Education and 20 Social Studies teachers. Semi-structured interviews were also undertaken with nine students, and nine Islamic Religious Education and nine Social Studies teachers. The findings from this study indicate that participants linked many of the knowledge components, skills, values and attitudes associated with Saudi citizenship to the Islamic religion. Responses from the participants indicate that students’ voices are absent in school, as they are anxious about expressing their opinions and believe their sole purpose for coming to school is to acquire knowledge. In addition, this study provides evidence of different views amongst the participants that reflect current tensions in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia regarding tolerance, outside influences, faith and extremism. Many students, for example, appeared to be intolerant towards other faiths or ideas, which is arguably not in accordance with the Islamic religion. The study argues that, as it is currently taught, Citizenship Education in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia can be perceived as limited in comparison to Western conceptions of Citizenship Education, and that it is not meeting the needs of future Saudi citizens. The study proposes that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia needs to change its education system to keep pace with change in the wider world and within Saudi society, and concludes by making recommendations for such change and for future research in Islamic Religious Education and Citizenship Education.
Supervisor: Freathy, Rob Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available