Ethics Class an Option to Religion; Religious Studies Expert Gives Support

Article excerpt

Byline: Paul Appelkamp Reporter

RELIGIOUS Studies expert Dr Cathy Byrne has pledged her support for ethics classes to continue being taught in NSW public primary schools.

In 2010, ethics classes were rolled out to years 5 and 6 in state primary schools as an alternative to religious scripture classes which were taught for 30 minutes each week. Ethics classes have since been fiercely opposed by NSW Christian Democrat MP Fred Nile, who said they instil Nazi and Communist ideologies in children.

Dr Byrne recently presented her argument for the continu- ation of ethics classes at the NSW Parliamentary Enquiry into Ethics Classes in Sydney.

She argued many children who opted out of scripture classes did almost nothing for half an hour and needed an alternative.

aThey have to have a non-religious option. The ethics classes are an alternative that's not religious but similarly looks at right and wrong and ethics. Children who aren't learning about right and wrong in a religious sense can learn about it in a secular situation,a she said.

Religious, humanist and rationalist groups have also presented their cases to the committee. …