Religion in Education: children, ethics, faith and meaning

sofianewSea of Faith in Australia (Sofia) announce The 2015 SoFiA Conference, Religion in Education: children, ethics, faith and meaning, which will be conducted at the Twin Towns Resort, Coolangatta, Queensland, on 22 – 24 May, 2015.

Hh3>Religion in Education:children, ethics, faith and meaning

The 2015 SoFiA Conference

22 – 24 May, 2015

Twin Towns Resort, Coolangatta

All welcome!


Discussion paper on religion in education


Ian Mavor ‘Religion and education: companions or competitors?’

Rev Dr Ian Mavor OAM is Executive Director of Hopewell Hospice and Paradise Kids on the Gold Coast. He served for many years as leader of the Queensland Religious Education Curriculum Project, where he had to confront the conflict between fundamentalist and liberal philosophies. In later years, he held senior positions in primary, secondary and tertiary education.

In his many roles in religious education, Ian has worked to resolve tensions between interested parties. In the process, he has developed a deep understanding of different traditions and practices, and of the different kinds of ‘truth’ that underlie belief systems. Ian believes that students can be made aware of beliefs and values as human phenomena that can be studied both objectively and subjectively.

Anna Halafoff ‘Religion, Diversity and Education’

Dr Anna Halafoff is a Lecturer in Sociology at the Centre for Citizenship and Globalisation, Deakin University. Her current and recent research interests include intercultural and interreligious relations, countering violent extremism and religions and beliefs education. In 2011, Anna was named a UN Alliance of Civilizations Global Expert in multi-faith relations, religion and peacebuilding.

Australia is an increasingly religiously diverse nation yet this isn’t adequately reflected in its National Curriculum. This risks exacerbating processes of social exclusion. Anna’s paper will outline Australia’s history of cultural, spiritual and religious diversity. It will then discuss the findings of recent studies on policies and practices for teaching about religions and non-religious world views in intercultural education. Finally, it will argue that Australia still has much to learn from international research in this field in order to provide a 21st Century education for young Australians, which would provide them with vital skills to live and work in a culturally and religiously globalised world.

Peta Goldberg ‘Learning about and from Religion/s’

Professor Peta Goldburg is the foundation Chair in Religious Education at Australian Catholic University. She played a key role in the development of syllabuses for the Queensland senior secondary subjects, Study of Religion and Religion and Ethics. She has written Investigating Religion for Senior Secondary Study of Religion (2010) and Exploring Religion and Ethics (2012).

Kevin Bates ‘Education, Funding and Ideology: the Australian Experience’

Mr Kevin Bates is President of the Queensland Teachers’ Union. Previously he was a union officer and secondary school humanities teacher for 17 years. An atheist and politically progressive, he was educated in the public education system and studied comparative religion in his first degree.

The commitment of government to funding competing education systems from the public purse is unique to Australia. Following the defeat of the Gonski school funding model, this presentation will contend that the fixation on ideology over education will see another generation of Australian children suffer from disadvantage in education and therefore life: an opportunity squandered.

Indicative Program

Fri 22 May

  • Registration 6pm, welcome
  • Rev Dr Ian Mavor

Sat 23 May

  • Dr Anna Halafoff
  • Prof Peta Goldberg
  • Workshop sessions
  • Towards a Religious Education Wishlist

Sun 24 May

  • Mr Kevin Bates
  • Workshop sessions
  • Towards a Religious Education Wishlist
  • Close 12.30pm<

Registration Options

  • Print and post a Registration Form with cheque/money order payment
  • Scan and email a Registration Form and pay by direct debit (as per details on the form)
  • Register online (Please note: an extra $5 is added to the fee for this option to cover credit card processing and other fees.)

Registration Form [PDF, 75KB]

Conference Brochure [PDF, 261KB]