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Issues with RE in state schools

Issues with RE in state schools

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Published by: blamer3388 on Apr 17, 2011
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Significant issues with Religious Education in government schools in Victoria:
1. Children are enrolled by default.
For example, on the bottom of page 5 of this particular 10 page primary school enrollment form, the parent is asked"Will the student participate in Religious Instruction classes?"http://www.middleparkps.vic.edu.au/download2.php?id=25&type=app&c=0 Asked in this way, the onus is on the parent being willing to answer "No" my child will not participate. The schools are notasking parents in a neutral and informative way.Even in schools using the proscribed
GC 566 (Revised 2007)
form
 – 
 – 
the government directions reveal an obviousbias.
Failure to return the form within 14 days will be regarded as consent for a student to receive special religiousinstruction in accordanc
e with ACCESS Ministries’ agreed Christian syllabus.
 
https://www.eduweb.vic.gov.au/edulibrary/public/curricman/support/3-22.pdf  The above directive seems inconsistent with the Education Act, 2006:
1.2.2 Principles underlying the Government educationand training system
(2) All persons employed or engaged in the provisionof Government education and training by the Stateor in the administration of Government educationand training by the State must apply or haveregard to the following principles
 — 
 (a) Government schools
 — 
 (i) will provide a secular education andwill not promote any particularreligious practice, denomination orsect
2. Schools cannot offer an alternative.
A parent who opts-out by objecting in writing is agreeing that when RI is taking place, their child will be put aside for 30minutes because"
Secular instruction may not be timetabled while students from the class are attending special religious instruction
"https://www.eduweb.vic.gov.au/edulibrary/public/curricman/support/3-22.pdf  This segregation from the class is clearly unfair to the child and therefore coercive to the parent.
3. General Religious Education is inclusive and multicultural, Special Religious Instruction is not.
Special religious instruction in government schools is authorised by Section 2.2.11 of the Education and TrainingReform Act 2006. This Act supersedes legislation on Religious instruction contained in Section 23 of the Education Act 1958. A copy of the 2006 Act can be found at:http://www.education.vic.gov.au/about/directions/reviewleg.htm 
 
In section 2.2.10(4) of the Act, general religious education is defined as ‘education about major forms of religiousthought and expression characteristic of Australian society and other societies in the world.’ In section 2.2.11(5) of the Act, special religious instruction is defined as ‘instruction provided by churches and other religious groups and based on distinctive religious tenets and beliefs.’ 
https://www.eduweb.vic.gov.au/edulibrary/public/curricman/support/3-22.pdf  I submit that this distinction is not public knowledge, and that if it was, then school communities would strongly preferencethe former over the latter
 – 
particularly if involving families of diverse backgrounds.
4. ACCESS Ministries have a monopoly over Special Religious Instruction.
- they deliver 96% of SRI in state schools in Victoria, as quoted in The Age- the content they deliver is named Christian Religious Education- their employees / volunteers are not state school teachers"
 ACCESS ministries leads the Church in its mission to reach students and school communities in Victoria and beyond with thetransforming love of God and His Son Jesus Christ.
""
Our vision is to reach every student in Victoria with the Gospel. Join the vision and help us transform this nation for God.
I submit that views and goals stated by this non-denominational organisation are not common knowledge, and are literallybiblical and missionary. I understand that volunteers undertake 2 days training and are told not to evangelise during SRI.
5.
 
Special Religious Instruction cannot be refused by the school community
 - currently around half Victoria
s public schools have SRI
2.2.11 Special religious instruction
(1) Special religious instruction may be given in aGovernment school in accordance with thissection

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