Teaching about religions in New Zealand schools has been a priority concern expressed by the annual national Religious Leaders Forums, hosted by the Religious Diversity Centre for the last two years. Leaders consider that increased understanding of a wide range of religious beliefs would ultimately lead to a decrease in incidences of religiously based harassment and abuse.
The Religious Leaders Forum has set up a workgroup to take the initiative forward. The group are monitoring the current review of the Social Studies curriculum now underway with a view to recommending the inclusion of ‘teaching about religions’ in the future. The Religious Diversity Centre is already significantly involved in hosting Leadership Diversity Days where young people, many of whom have had no contact or involvement with those of different religious and or cultural backgrounds, are able to experience first hand both the positive aspects and the challenges inherent in living with religious diversity. Teachers who have attended the Leadership Diversity Days report very favourably on the outcome of the programme for both students and teachers alike.