Sunday, 9 September 2007

Faith based education - Don't write it off yet!

Sunday Night -Watching ‘Rosh Hashanah: Keeping the Faith’ on BBC1, a discussion of the persistence of faith in a secular world presented by Jonathan Sacks, Chief Rabbi of the Commonwealth. One of the most interesting parts of the program was a visit to the King David Jewish school in Birmingham where a significant proportion of the children are Muslim! Why? Because they value a school where faith and the ethical tradition that goes with it is taken seriously. Given a choice of a secular school or a Jewish school these Muslim parents are voting with their feet and sending their children to King David. I can’t help wondering whether there is a lesson for us to learn in the Irish context where faith based education is increasingly seen as sectarian rather than a possible aid to inter-faith reconciliation and understanding.


Bock the Robber said...

Stephen, how many secular schools are there in Ireland? Come on. Almost all schools in this country are run by one denomination or another.

The comparison with Britain doesn't work, because parents here have no option about where to send their children.

By definition, and due to the State's abdicating its responsibilities, Irish education is absolutely sectarian.

Stephen Neill said...

Re choice - fair point and this needs to be addressed by the Gov't and lobbied more effectively by us. Yes Irish education is sectarian but my question is whether this is intrinsic and an inevitable result of a faith based model? The example from the UK would appear to suggest otherwise. Regardless the State does need to get its finger out!

Nikol said...

That's all fine. What, however, do you think about Obadiah Shoher's criticism pf Rosh Hashanah as aholiday that has nothing to do with New Year? Here, for example