Minister sending mixed messages on non-denominational education
Labour Party Education spokesperson Senator Aodhán Ó Ríordáin has accused the Minister for Education of sending mixed messages when it comes to non-denominational education.
Senator Ó Ríordáin said:
“The Minister for Education’s latest announcement that alternative subjects should be offered to those who do not want to participate in religion classes in schools is welcome. However, after last week’s news that five Educate Together schools around the country are only permitted by the Department of Education to enrol half-stream classes from September, the Minister is speaking out of both sides of his mouth at the same time.
“The Minister for Education is sending mixed messages on the rights of children and parents to opt out of religious education. The Minister seems to be comfortable with the fact that his Department is allowing one set of rules for opting out of education in community schools and another when it comes to expanding non-denominational education in other parts of the country.
“The Minister needs to look at implementing these rules in all schools. Not every locality has a non or multi denominational option. Our country has changed dramatically over the past twenty years in terms of demographics and it is essential that we provide an education system that reflects this change. I know from talking with a lot of parents, teachers and students that there is significant demand for multi-denominational and non-denominational schooling.”