Review of the Essays on Religious Studies vol. IV, 2013.

Y. Polyakova, PhD is an Associate Professor in the Department of Germanic Philology at the Makiivka University of Economics and Humanities

The Essays on Religious Studies stands out as both a clear sign of a significant growth of interest towards religion and religious education in Ukrainian society and a reflection of a much debatable question of the presence of religion in state schools.
Much attention is drawn to the fourth volume of the Essays on Religious Studies, firstly because of the acclaimed specialists that constitute the editorial board, and secondly because of the well-structured composition of the journal, which contains the following sections: Theoretical

Issues of Religious Education, Religious Education in Europe, Confessional Education, Translation, Archive, Reviews and list of theses on religious education.
The theoretical section has doubtlessly earned its respect. It is represented by F. Kozyrev's article The Notion of Religious Education and Its Pedagogical Interpretation. Professor Kozyrev is a renowned expert in the field of religious education, has a PhD in pedagogy, currently the director of the Institute of Religious Pedagogy at the Russian Christian Academy of Humanities. In his article F. Kozyrev considers the international integration of the local (Russian) system of education, the effective ways of incorporation of the religious element into the compulsory secondary education, and the adoption of foreign terminology by Russian pedagogy, which is currently crucial to Ukraine as well. F. Kozyrev justifies the validity of the conceptual apparatus of pedagogy, thus bringing it into compliance with international standards.
The articles by Y. Reshetnikov, V. Kozhuharov, L. Vladychenko, S. Karassyova and E. Shkurova, K. Nikiforov, presented in the second section of the journal Religious Education in Europe are dedicated to the study of Ukrainian and European implementation of the subjects of spiritual and moral development in state schools, religious education in Poland, Byelorussia, and activities of international NGO's in the field.
We consider Valentyn Kozhuharov's article to be of major interest. He focuses predominantly on the activities of the Inter-European Commission on Church and School, a non-government organization, which actively deals with problems of the role of religion in education and society, relations between church and state educational system. The article by V. Kozhuharov introduces the work of ICCS and other similar organizations, its structure, history, current challenges and future plans. I deeply agree with the author on his statement that the inclusion of Eastern European and, in particular Ukrainian, experts on religious education will bring mutual benefits to both sides.
The third section Confessional Education contains articles by V. Krishmarel, Y. Chornoivan, D. Brylov. The study conducted by V. Krishmarel explores catholic educational institutions in Ukraine; the article by Y. Chornoivan dwells upon the Baha'i experience in education and upbringing of the new generation. The Baha'i Faith is one of the young religions, which has quickly gained the status of a world religion and attracts followers thanks to its well organized and prosocial activity all around the world, as well as in Ukraine, where it was registered by the State Committee on Religions in 1999, and has a region wide structure with its head office in Kyiv. In his article D. Brylov touches upon the issues of the Muslim education, its models, analyses the sources of conflict between different Muslim groups, different educational systems and different interpretations of Islam.
A true gem of the current issue is the translation of Wanda Alberts' article The Academic Study of Religions and Integrative Religious Education in Europe, published in the British Journal of Religious Education in 2010. Wanda Alberts is an Associate Professor in the Department of Archeology, History, Cultural Studies and Religion at the University of Bergen, Norway. Articles of the sort familiarize Ukrainian education community with contemporary research by leading world scholars. It should be noted that the teachers and scholars in Ukraine have limited access to European experience, even to articles, which has its objective (mainly financial) and subjective (poor knowledge of foreign languages) reasons. Hence a solution to the problem is found through publishing of translations (the same applies to the section Reviews).
There is an interesting and informative article in the section Archive authored by A. Krymskyj. It dynamically narrates in a rather lively manner about an old scholastic Muslim university in Cairo.
Placed at the very end of the journal, the list of theses on religious education guides young religious studies scholars and theologians through a variety of existing research, problematic issues and challenges of the contemporary religious education.
I'd like to draw your particular attention to the journal's requirements for articles. They slightly differ from those of the Ukrainian Commission for Certification, since the YASR editorial board is looking towards the opportunities of entering foreign science-specific databases, which should allow Ukrainian scholars get involved and become acclaimed in the international academic and educational community. I also recommend the journal's website, where a reader can access current and archive information. I wish both the Essays on Religious Studies journal and its editorial board best of luck and I'm looking forward for the next volume!