Progress in removing religious instruction from public schools?

By Ken Perrott 13/07/2015


Image credit: rethinking schools

Looks like we might be making a bit of progress in attempts to establish a genuine secular education system in New Zealand.

There are reports that “secular education advocates have had a win in their fight against the Bible in Schools programme.”

The Secular Education Network has been asking for months for removal of sectarian religious instruction classes from public schools. They have now been given access to guidelines the Ministry of education may suggest to resolve the problem.

Network spokesman David Hines said schools would be encouraged to end religious instruction during class time.

“And instead have it at lunch, or after school. Parents would also have to give written permission before they could get put in these classes. They are suggested guidelines. But these are both problem areas, so it’s good that they’re addressing those,” he said.

Apparently the suggested guidelines would also make it clear religious instruction is not part of the New Zealand Curriculum and would discourage religious observances in school assemblies. The Ministry will also consider how to raise awareness about the difference between religious instruction and religious education.

So this is progress. Religious instruction will be relegated to an out-of-school-hours activity like sport. Hopefully, there will also be changes to make this an opt-in choice and not the current opt-out system where parents requests are often ignored.

I agree with the Secular Education Network that there is a place for religious education (and education of other belief systems) in schools but this is very different to religious instruction which is a form of dogmatic brainwashing.

Clearly this is an ongoing process of negotiation by of the Education Ministry with concerned parents and schools. I just hope this progress is confirmed and there is no backsliding.

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0 Responses to “Progress in removing religious instruction from public schools?”

  • But you are quite happy for kids to be indoctrinated with your LBGT shite and climate change pseudo-science..

  • Actually, I like the idea of religious instruction in schools – so long as it includes mention of all religious view points as well as atheist and other viewpoints – perhaps under some sort of ethics and philosophy banner.
    I went to a Catholic school where half of our religious studies was about Catholicism and half about other religions. I think it certainly helped me move towards atheism.

    • Michael, I have no been trying to call what you advocate religious education. To contrast with the dogmatic religious instruction.

      Interestingly, people like Richard Dawkins and Dan Dennett also favour religious education, but oppose religious instruction.

  • Yes dogmatic instruction does have it’s downfalls…
    It would be good if science to didn’t have dogmatic approaches to the theory of our universe. An ideal science would be empirical and not relying on mathematical constructs .. Sigh