Dialogue and Saudi Tradition: an empirical case study of religious education at a Saudi university
General speaking, dialogue is a method that can improve communication and integration among individuals. It is a cultural and human concept which the Saudi government has focused on in the last decade. In promoting the development of people's capacity for dialogue, and how to converse with others internally and externally, the aim is to improve the practices of communication between citizens who may hold different social or religious views or different opinions on any subject. Religious education has been situated within a more general account of assumptions about education in Saudi i.e., it is a textual knowledge that is privileged. In other words, with such an understanding of the purpose of religious education – as being primarily the transmission of knowledge – there is little space for students to engage in dialogue or the practices that are necessary for the exchange of different points of view. So, the move towards more open forms of teaching and learning that involve interaction between students, therefore, has farreaching consequences for the education system generally as its purpose is changed or reformed. Because of that, this paper looks at how dialogue and its practices and motives can be understood within the religious traditions of Islam and within the social and cultural context of the Saudi society, as well as looks at dialogue in the context of university education in Saudi Arabia. One of the most important topics central to the position of dialogue within the Saudi community, the response of participants gave when asked how important dialogue is within Saudi society, whether there are any boundaries and limits to dialogue within Saudi Arabia, the analysis of the Saudi policy for higher education, the way in which university systems understand their desired goals compared to their actual performance in
practice, and, finally, the reflection of that on religious education at Saudi University.
Published in: London International Conference on Education (LICE-2020)
- Date of Conference: 23-25 November 2020
- DOI: 10.2053/LICE.2020.0029
- ISBN: 978-1-913572-22-8
- Conference Location: London, UK