Letter: RE should be about learning, not about pleasing all faiths

Click to follow
The Independent Online
JUDITH JUDD reports on Christian anguish over the national religious education model syllabuses ('Christian right loses RE battle', 3 July).

The study of too many religions will not benefit every child. This model arises from a desire to affirm all faith communities rather than from educational considerations.

It is not true of all schools that simplification leads educationally to a focus on Christianity. If a school in which 90 per cent of the children are Muslim wishes to make religion comprehensible, it may conclude that Christianity is not the obvious educational medium. Other considerations will include what the tax-paying community hopes to achieve by religious education.

World religions in a syllabus are not merely the block votes of sections of the population. They are ways in which people believe that they know God. Knowing God could well be a national priority, in view of concern about our spiritual and moral impoverishment. If so, Christian education will need to raise its game. But if it does that, we can expect an increase in complaints that the products of our schools are unemployable. The present moral tone of the City of London is apparently set by education at schools whose official focus is the chapel. That may be what employers need. But what would happen to markets, consumption, pay differentials and investment if state schools sent forth a generation seeking first God's kingdom and are bent on storing up treasure in heaven rather than on earth?

Richard Wilkins

General Secretary

Association of Christian Teachers

St Albans, Hertfordshire