Government Watchdog Urges Public Schools to Teach About Religious Diversity

April 23, 2004

Source: The Independent

On April 23, 2004 The Independent reported, "Schools will be urged to teach their pupils about a broad range of religious faiths - not just Christianity - in new guidance to be published next week. The guidance, from the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA), the Government's exams watchdog, will suggest that pupils should be given an understanding of Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism and Judaism alongside Christianity. It will also suggest that pupils should also be taught about the beliefs of humanism by the time they reach the school leaving age of 16. But it is understood to make no mention of atheism, which the Prime Minister's favourite think-tank, the Institute for Public Policy Research, has said should be taught in schools. The guidance is designed to encourage pupils to see religious diversity as something 'positive rather than threatening.' Secondary school pupils should be encouraged to evaluate different religions and philosophies, it will argue. The guidance heralds a shift away from the early days of religious education under the national curriculum when the former Tory government suggested it should be taught in a broadly Christian context."