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New 'beliefs and ethics' subject proposed for Primary Schools

Posted by Schooldays Newshound, on 03/11/2015. New 'beliefs and ethics' subject proposed for Primary SchoolsTags: Education And Politics Parenting Teachers

The National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) have launched a new consultation paper which may impact the future of Religious Education in Irish Primary schools.

The consultation paper, entitled Education about Religions & Beliefs & Ethics (ERB), proposes a new subject "which does not nurture the belief or practice of any one religion; instead it focuses on fostering an informed awareness of the main theist, non-theist, and secular beliefs including key aspects of their cultural manifestations. "

"In Education about Religions and Beliefs your child will learn about the major forms of religion, belief traditions and worldviews that have been embraced by people around the world. This learning will help your child develop a respect for, understanding of, and empathy with people of diverse religions, beliefs and worldviews."

Traditionally, the Department of Education rule allows 30 minutes a day for religion teaching in accordance with the programme drawn up by the school patron. In Catholic schools the time alotted towards religious education focuses mainly on preparing students for their First Communion or Confirmation.

 While the NCCA consultation paper states that a curriculum for ERBE for all children is separate from programmes developed by school patrons and is not intended to replace the patron’s programme in faith formation in denominational schools, it is unclear how the new subject could be incoporated into an already overloaded curriculum without impacting on existing subject classes.

This consultation comes not long after the announcement of the 'Grow In Love' curriculum,a programme put forward by the Irish Catholic Bishops' Conference to promote Catholic teachings for Junior and Senior Infant pupils across Ireland.

The NCCA has invited schools and parents to give their views on the proposed new subject as part of a consultation process launched today. An online questionnaire on the new currciulum along with consultation materials designed to support engagement in the process are available on Consultations on the NCCA's proposed curriculum will remain open until Spring 2016.


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