Religious Education in Malawi and Ghana : Perspectives on Religious Misrepresentation and Misclusion book cover
1st Edition

Religious Education in Malawi and Ghana
Perspectives on Religious Misrepresentation and Misclusion

ISBN 9780367352141
Published March 16, 2021 by Routledge
168 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Religious Education in Malawi and Ghana contributes to the literature on opportunities and complexities of inclusive approaches to Religious Education (RE). It analyses how RE in Malawi and Ghana engages with religious pluralisation and provides a compelling case for the need to re-evaluate current approaches in the conceptualisation, curriculum design and delivery of RE in schools in Malawi and Ghana.

The book explains how a pervasive tradition of selection involving exclusion and inclusion of religion in RE leads to misrepresentation, and in turn to misclusion of non-normative religions, where religion is included but marginalized and misrepresented. The book contributes to wider discourse of RE on opportunities as well as complexities of post-confessional approaches, including the need for RE to avoid perpetuating the continued legitimisation of selected religions, and in the process the delegitimization of the religious ‘other’ as a consequence of misrepresentation and misclusion. Inspired by Braten’s methodology for comparative studies in RE, the book draws on two qualitative studies from Malawi and Ghana to highlight the pervasive problems of religious misclusion in RE.

This book will be of great interest for academics, scholars and post graduate students in the fields of RE, African education, educational policy, international education and comparative education..

Table of Contents


Part I: Setting the Context

Chapter 1: Religion at School in Malawi and Ghana

Chapter 2: Methodological Considerations

Part II: Framing the Debate

Chapter 3: Religion as De/legitimised Knowledge

Chapter 4: Conceptualising Religious Misrepresentation

Chapter 5: Problematising Inclusive Religious Education

Part III: Empirical Findings

Chapter 6: Misrepresentation of Religion in Religious Education

Chapter 7: Misclusion of Religion in Religious Education ‘Texts’

Chapter 8: Misclusion of Religion in Classroom Discourse

Final Remarks



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Yonah Hisbon Matemba is a Senior Lecturer in Social Sciences Education, School of Education and Social Sciences Education, University of the West of Scotland, UK.

Richardson Addai-Mununkum is an academic with expertise in teaching and research in the field of Curriculum and Pedagogy.He holds academic and administrative positions at the University of Education,Winneba, Ghana.


"Yonah Hisbon Matemba and Richardson Addai-Mununkum describe in a clear way different approaches of western scholars to RE, and – on the shoulders of these scholars and learning from them – they explore in depth the (mis)representation and misclusion of religion(s) in their home countries: Malawi and Ghana respectively.

Books and curricula are examined, and – what is most convincing – voice is given to teachers and students. The precondition of the classroom as a safe space for critical and constructive dialogue (for students and for teachers!) is highlighted.

With this publication the authors present an interesting example of comparative research, ending up in challenging recommendations for teacher training. I support the passionate plea of Matemba and Addai-Mununkum for inclusive education, in which "pluralism is understood not as an issue to deal with but rather a reality to be embraced, in its complexity."

This publication is a must for all people involved in education ‘in the presence of the other’ – not only in Africa!"

Dr. K.H. (Ina) ter Avest, em. prof. Religious Education, Independent researcher


'This book addresses some of the key themes in research in Religious Education in the contexts of Malawi and Ghana. These include the continued influence of Christianity, the dominant position of Christianity in Religious Education as the legitimate focus for study and the misrepresentation of other religions.  The authors argue that the misrepresentation of religion results in ‘misclusion’ of religion in Religious Education. This leads to the very serious threat of marginalisation of other religions and worldviews. This is a highly original and challenging book that applies some established analytical tools to Religious Education in two countries in Africa and expands the international scope of research in Religious Education. This book is unique and a very important and timely contribution to research and scholarship on Religious Education.' 

Professor Stephen J. McKinney, University of Glasgow