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Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Religion versus education

Religion is a bar to learning. Surprise, surprise!

This is not what’s perhaps the more obvious interpretation: that religious mumbo-jumbo just ain’t real knowledge. It’s a bit more practical: doing prayers and Koran cramming in school leaves less time for the subjects that are meant to be taught.

This story about a primary school comes via the Irish Independent, and concerns the North Dublin Muslim School.

The [school inspection] report says that external personnel are employed by the school to teach religion. They work in all classrooms for 45 minutes each day, teaching the Koran and Arabic – in other national schools the normal period is 30 minutes a day.

Pupils in middle and senior classes also attend prayers for 20 minutes each day with additional time required for preparation, the report says.

However, the report says all of this eats into the delivery time for the national school curriculum.

Not only this, but the teachers have a habit of disappearing while this nonsense is being crammed down pupils’ throats, yet the report says the kids should be supervised at all times.

Bad though it is – kids being denied education for the sake of religion – it’s not all that this school has been up to. Another story in the same paper says the Department for Education and Science has been raising serious questions about its finances.

There’s been “little evidence” that grants and other funds have been spend appropriately. The department pays the rental for this school, and other running costs such as gas and electricity bills.

Taxpayers’ money going on what? The story continues:

It is not possible to ascertain how previous money and specific grants have been spent or what bills have been paid and what amounts are still owed.

There are few records of previous expenditure and there is little evidence of that expenditure in terms of maintenance, resources and equipment. Information on available finances is not communicated to the school community, the report says.

The board of management has failed to make available a sufficient range of teaching and learning resources to the teachers and pupils in the school.

The report also found that there was little evidence that department grants, issued to support curriculum implementation, had been spent appropriately.

And yet another story concerning the same school says A team of experts is to be sent in to monitor the school, “which has been strongly criticised in the most damning inspection report ever issued” by the Department of Education.

The paper talks of “a litany of shocking revelations”, set to “cause alarm within Ireland’s 32,000-strong Muslim community”.

Only among the Muslim community? I’d have thought that every taxpaying citizen, and every citizen who has any concern whatsoever for how the country’s young people are being educated, would be alarmed, indeed furious, over this.

Why do we in these isles (and elsewhere) feel that religion just has to be part of schooling? As this blog has said on many occasions, learning about it is one thing, but learning it for its own sake is quite another, and should be outlawed.

1 comment:

quedula said...

Couldn't agree more. It is scandalous that taxpayers' money is being wasted on this absolute rubbish.