The religious rot in Scotland’s education system

The discussion of a petition in the Scottish Parliament on 11 November to encourage the Scottish Government to follow the example of the UK Government to ban the teaching of evolution denial in state school science classes is just the latest manifestation of profound problems posed by the penetration of religious organisations into Scottish schools. Other examples are;

  • the division of state schools between Roman Catholic and Protestant schools (which are disingenuously called ‘non-denominational) which encourages pupils to believe obscure religious differences between sects are of great significance thus reinforcing religious sectarianism in Scottish society which ostensibly the Scottish Government is concerned to diminish.
  • legal requirements for ‘religious observance’ in all Scottish state schools when the great majority of parents and children are now no longer religious in any meaningful sense
  • Guaranteed seats for three non-elected but voting religious nominees on every local authority education committee, including one from from the Church of Scotland and, except in the islands, one Roman Catholic – thus institutionalising sectarian divisions in education.
  • Access to schools by numerous external religious groups to propagate their doctrines and rituals – documented in the case of Edinburgh by ESS at http://edinburghsecularsociety.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/ESS-Evidence-of-Christians-Targeting-and-Accessing-Scottish-Schools-Sept-2013pdf.pdf

Is it not time to separate religion from the education system? Pupils should learn about different religions in religious, philosophical and moral education but religious observance and practice should be undertaken in out of school hours by parents and children if they wish to to engage in them with their respective denominations.

It is not time for the Scottish Government and the Scottish Parliament to confront these fundamental problems with Scottish education?

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