Religious Instruction in schools and “soliciting”

Press reports today (e.g.”Qld govt to review religious education“, Courier-Mail, 7 June 2016) indicate that a school Principal in Queensland has written to parents at his school indicating that he is cancelling the usual Religious Instruction (RI) classes, on the basis that he has discovered the lessons involve “proselytising” (a term which he says refers to “soliciting a student… to change their religious affiliation”). The Queensland Government in response to the press reports has indicated that it will be reviewing materials used to ensure they comply with relevant rules.

Does this mean a radical change has recently taken place in a program which has been operating for many years allowing parents to send their children to RI (elsewhere sometimes called “Scripture” or “Special Religious Education”) classes for a short period each week? Actually, no. It seems that the Principal has misread the relevant provisions, and the Queensland Government really doesn’t need to react to the misleading interpretation.

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