Letter: Religious schools

Sir: Indarjit Singh states (Right of reply, 3 December) that the new Sikh school would teach diversity, not separation. If this is so, why do we need Sikh schools in the first place? Religious schools, by definition, must be exclusive; otherwise there is no rationale for them to exist.

Diversity, unlike separation, is essentially a phenomenon of secular education. Religious schools have neither the ideological foundation nor religious flexibility to accommodate diversity. This is especially true if schools are structured on proselytising religions. In such schools, teaching of diversity is likely to end up merely as an instrument of attracting state funding.

Religious minorities have every right to preserve their religion and culture, as they continue to do by constructing temples and mosques across the country. But state-funding of religious schools is different: it is tantamount to legitimising the "communalis-ation" of education.


Gants Hill, Essex