2011/08: Should primary schools run Special Religious Instruction classes??

Introduction to the media issue

Video clip at right:
An April 2011 ABC 7.30 program segment dealing with the reaction to religious education / instruction programs in schools.. If you cannot see this clip, it will be because video is blocked by your network. To view the clip, access from home or from a public library, or from another network which allows viewing of video clips.

What they said...
'Volunteers are not educators. Too many are motivated by the desire to convert students to Christianity rather than teach religion in an impartial way'
Jewel Topsfield, education editor for The Age

'There is great respect and cooperation between the SRI providers, of all the faiths...We ...work cooperatively where we can'
Dr Evonne Paddison, chief executive officer for ACCESS Ministries

The issue at a glance
On March 27, 2011, a news report published in The Age revealed that a number of schools have challenged the Victorian Education Department's policy that all primary schools are to run Christian education classes.
In addition to these challenges, the Humanist Society of Victoria is taking legal action against the Department, claiming children who opt out of "special religious instruction" are being discriminated against.
Defenders of the current policy argue that the Department is doing no more than is required of it under the law.
This year New South Wales has begun an ethics program to be run parallel to its Special Religious Education for those children whose parents do not want them to attend the religious education.