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Teachers' group calls for end to faith-based lessons


Posted by SchoolDays Newshound on 24/06/2011. Teachers' group calls for end to faith-based lessonsTags: Education And Politics Primary School News

One of Ireland's largest teachers' unions has called for a law that prescribes a "religious spirit" to run though all the work done in primary schools to be dropped.

Presenting at the Forum on Pluralism and Patronage in the Primary Sector yesterday (June 23rd), the Irish National Teachers' Organisation (INTO) said the legislation is unfair on parents who do not follow such an ethos and have exempted their children from religious education classes, the Irish Independent reports.

INTO called for Rule 68 of the Rules for National Schools legislation, which dates back to the 1920s, to be abolished.

This mandates that a "religious spirit should inform and vivify the whole work of the school".

However, it suggested at the event that a removal of religion from the classroom is not possible under current laws.

Chair of the forum Professor John Coolahan said the state appeared to be prohibited from allowing non-religious schools.

Last month, a report from the Irish Human Rights Commission said more must be done in the country's education system to protect pupils' freedom of religion, both for those of the Roman Catholic faith and children from minorities.

Written by Donal Walsh
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Comments

Iftikhar Ahmad

(25/06/2011 11:58)


Almost all children now believe they go to school to pass exams. The idea that they may be there for an education is irrelevant. State schools have become exam factories, interested only in A to C Grades. They do not educate children. Exam results do not reflect a candidates innate ability. Employers have moaned for years that too many employees cannot read or write properly. According to a survey, school-leavers and even graduates lack basic literacy and numeracy skills. More and more companies are having to provide remedial training to new staff, who cant write clear instructions, do simple maths, or solve problems. Both graduates and school-leavers were also criticised for their sloppy time-keeping, ignorance of basic customer service and lack of self-discipline.

Bilingual Muslims children have a right, as much as any other faith group, to be taught their culture, languages and faith alongside a mainstream curriculum. More faith schools will be opened under sweeping reforms of the education system in England. There is a dire need for the growth of state funded Muslim schools to meet the growing needs and demands of the Muslim parents and children. Now the time has come that parents and community should take over the running of their local schools. Parent-run schools will give the diversity, the choice and the competition that the wealthy have in the private sector. Parents can perform a better job than the Local Authority because parents have a genuine vested interest. The Local Authority simply cannot be trusted.

The British Government is planning to make it easier to schools to opt out from the Local Authorities. Muslim children in state schools feel isolated and confused about who they are. This can cause dissatisfaction and lead them into criminality, and the lack of a true understanding of Islam can ultimately make them more susceptible to the teachings of fundamentalists like Christians during the middle ages and Jews in recent times in Palestine. Fundamentalism is nothing to do with Islam and Muslim; you are either a Muslim or a non-Muslim.

There are hundreds of state primary and secondary schools where Muslim pupils are in majority. In my opinion all such schools may be opted out to become Muslim Academies. This mean the Muslim children will get a decent education. Muslim schools turned out balanced citizens, more tolerant of others and less likely to succumb to criminality or extremism. Muslim schools give young people confidence in who they are and an understanding of Islams teaching of tolerance and respect which prepares them for a positive and fulfilling role in society. Muslim schools are attractive to Muslim parents because they have better discipline and teaching Islamic values. Children like discipline, structure and boundaries. Bilingual Muslim children need Bilingual Muslim teachers as role models during their developmental periods, who understand their needs and demands.

None of the British Muslims convicted following the riots in Bradford and Oldham in 2001 or any of those linked to the London bombings had been to Islamic schools. An American Think Tank studied the educational back ground of 300 Jihadists; none of them were educated in Pakistani Madrasas. They were all Western educated by non-Muslim teachers. Bilingual Muslim children need bilingual Muslim teachers as role models. A Cambridge University study found that single-sex classes could make a big difference for boys. They perform better in single-sex classes. The research is promising because male students in the study saw noticeable gains in the grades. The study confirms the Islamic notion that academic achievement is better in single-sex classes.
Iftikhar Ahmad
http://www.londonschoolofislamics.og.uk




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