Religious Instruction Subject in School - should the alternative be "Ethics"?
January 14, 2011 1:29am CST
Once a week or so, as part of the curriculum in Public Schools, students attend a session of religious education for the space of time equal in length to a regular subject. There is also an alternative for parents who do not wish their children to attend, for which a form must be filled out & signed at the beginning of the school year. Often, these students find themselves doing extra study in the library, for example, under teacher supervision. Is this also the case in your country? What I'd like to discuss is this: is there a better way for these students to spend their time? One suggestion has been to give these students a course in ethics. Today we see a society in moral decline compared to many years ago, although we are much more developed in science & technology. Others argue that this religious instruction should be abolished entirely in public schools in a country whose religion is only about 50% Christian & only be taught in homes or churches. Churches have always argued that people's faith should be integrated into their daily lives & there has been no shortage of volunteers from the local communities to meet this end. Another thought could be a lesson in culture which helps to integrate those who were not born here as well as educate those who were to give them a healthy respect for the national culture, the indigenous culture & other major cultures in the world today. What are your thoughts on the matter? This has been debated for some time at a State Government level here in Australia.
• Adelaide, Australia
14 Jan 11
Fair point. The two should go hand in hand. Some of what we're seeing doesn't seem to indicate that the subject of religious education is having much of a good effect on students these days. But that's besides the point. I guess the point is, if parents choose not to send their children to "study" this subject, as some of them already do, they should be presented with some sort of an alternative. I'm interested in your opinion of what else these students should be doing if they are not attending this "subject". Thank you for your interest
• Adelaide, Australia
17 Jan 11
An excellent choice! When was the last time we saw philosophy taught as a separate subject in Public Schools? Studying philosophy can have far-reaching effects on those undertaking many professions. I can see the benefits to those in the sciences, medicine & law amongst others. I know it's being taught at university level in many places, but those without a university education can benefit from this also, contributing in many respects to a better society overall. Well Done