Leading Article: The first Hindu school is just another faith school

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The Independent Online

The opening of the country's first ever state-aided Hindu school has inevitably led to claims that the growth in the number of religious schools will lead to greater segregation of children from different communities. However, while it is true that the Hindu children who go to the Krishna-Avanti Primary School in Edgware, north London, would be taught alongside youngsters from other ethnic communities if the school did not exist, it raises the question: why should parents of the Hindu faith not be able to send their children to a school practising their religion when members of so many other faith groups already can?

Currently, we already have 6,841 faith schools of 13 different persuasions in this country. It may well be that, if we were devising the state education system again from scratch, we would insist that the role of the state to educate children be divorced from providing for pupils to practise their religion at school – and have secular schools, as happens in many European countries. Unfortunately, it would be politically impossible to move towards such a system now – especially given the preference expressed by a large number of parents for faith schools.

As that is the case, the Hindu community is just as entitled to its own faith school as any other religion is.