Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

What Value Is Religious Education?

Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

What Value Is Religious Education?

Article excerpt

Byline: Jack McGovern

RELIGION class was always one of my favourites at primary school.

Perhaps it was the super cool colouring-in books the RE teacher let us play with for the last five minutes that made me so spiritually invigorated.

Perhaps it was the fun songs we sang instead of checking the maths homework I hadn't completed.

Or perhaps - and yes, this one is most likely - it was the sheer sense of relief I felt when I had even the slightest break from being taught by one of my parents.

Seriously, wasn't home enough for them?

But for the poor Victorian students of today, these simple pleasures will no longer be the brilliant reality they once were.

Last week, the Victorian Government axed religious education classes in favour of classes to boost skills in developing healthy relationships.

Let's just forget for a moment that that really seems like something that falls to the parents.

Let's also forget that the very existence of school itself kind of gives us those skills anyway.

Basically, let's forget that anyone even suggested we get rid of religious education for good.

I'm not even saying an emphasis on healthy relationships isn't a good idea.

With issues such as domestic violence and child abuse reaching frightening levels, education from a young age can hardly be a bad thing.

I'm not particularly religious.

I agree that it's up to the individual to make up their mind on such issues based on personal beliefs.

But that's not what this is about.

This is about education. And be it a result of the way it is sometimes taught or a result of sceptical parents' uncertainty as to what is being taught, that is a very different thing to indoctrination.

To be fair, the Victorian Government did point out that only 20% of students have actually been attending RE.

Heck. That's only a fifth.

But if something is broken, isn't it better to fix it than throw it out?

By simply succumbing to public pressure, the Victorian Government is basically giving up on a form of education with much more value than it probably realises.

I agree that religious classes in schools should not be akin to Sunday School.

Unless a child is actually being sent to a religion-specific school, those teachings are a thing of the past in an education setting. …

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