Faith schools: good or bad?

Britain’s first government-funded Hindu school opens this coming Monday, and encouraging “faith schools” has been a key part of recent UK education policy. But does religion have any place in education? Do faith schools help to create successful schools, with strong, vibrant identities? Shouldn’t parents be able to choose from a wide range of schools? Or do faith schools divide communities – and should education be purely secular?

33 Responses to “Faith schools: good or bad?”

  1. September 12, 2008 at 15:30

    Very, very, very bad idea!

  2. 2 steve
    September 12, 2008 at 15:31

    If you’re going to create schools based upon fictional books, could I go to a Harry Potter-like school?

  3. September 12, 2008 at 15:34

    Only if I can go too, oh golly I hope the hat puts me in Gryffindor!!!

  4. September 12, 2008 at 15:36

    But to answer the question… I’m not a fan of it at all… Although I had friends who went to private faith-based schools (Paul VI and Bishop Occonnel)… Most were either sent there as a result of their parents having lots of money and little faith in public school, or because they were expelled from public schools and this was their only method of education short of moving to another county.
    Most didn’t care about the religion part and did just enough to skim by… For the most part they loathed and mocked the Catholic religion which was pushed upon them.

  5. 5 Angela in Washington
    September 12, 2008 at 15:40

    I am fine with faith based schools, as long as the government does not fund them. I plan on sending my kids to a catholic school, but I would never want the government to pay for the school. If I want my kids to go to private school, I will pay for them to go. Unless I live in an area with extremely good public schools, my kids will always go to private schools.

  6. 6 Julie P
    September 12, 2008 at 15:42

    My siblings and I went to a Catholic grade school for three reasons: A) it was across the street from where we lived B) it was extremely affordable and C) the classes were smaller than those at the public school. Like my parents, if you want to send your child/children to a private school, regardless if there is religion involved or not, pay for it yourself.

  7. 7 Katharina in Ghent
    September 12, 2008 at 15:54

    Faith should have no part in school life, instead they should teach Ethics. My son started school now and most kids in his class go to Catholic religion lessons, while my son and a couple of other “renegades” go to Ethics. But the school is actually a public one (almost all schools in Belgium are), and they have to provide lessons for pretty much all different religions possible, even if it means hiring a teacher for the one Hindu child or Baptist or Spaghetti-monster…

    If parents want their children to follow their religion, they should do so in their own time, in school they should learn how to become a good person, not a good believer.

  8. 8 Count Iblis
    September 12, 2008 at 16:07

    It should be a criminal offense to teach proven nonsense in schools. Allowing and even promoting religious schools amounts to feeding propaganda to children similar to what is done in North Korea and similar to the way the Hitler-Jugend were educated.

  9. September 12, 2008 at 16:32

    Hi Richard
    The main hurdle to progress and education in Iran is Seminaries and prelates. Idolatry and cult worship is practiced on a wide scale.
    Unfortuantely the world is too easily duped with talk of transcendental, ephemeral ideology which on the surface is reminescent of the adept and the recluse. All the talk of ascetic values of Iranian prelates is nonsense and baseless.
    Loan sharking, tithes, endowments, foundations and so-called charities from here to India and Southeast Asia, founded and controlled by prelates, are in fact massive rackets, designed to enrich them and enslave the nation to their wiles.
    There will be no peace in Iran or Iraq so long as seminaries and prelates exist.

  10. September 12, 2008 at 16:47

    The words “faith” and “school” together is an oxymoron. Kind of like “gay” and “marriage” when the definitions are taken literally as defined by traditional western concepts.

    These words had strict definitions when introduced into the language. As humans have sought to “spin” the issues, they have attempted to redefine the words. The debate always rages between those who want to stay true to the “traditional” or “conservative” meaning of the word and those who wish to “expand” and “liberate” the definition to make it more relevant to modern situations.

    “School” is seen as a place of learning hard provable and unified standards. Could you imagine if every school taught in a different language and that tongue as the only language. We would be a much more divided people. Faith holds no standards like reading, writing, and arithmetic.

  11. 11 Tom D Ford
    September 12, 2008 at 17:04

    Only if God and/or Gods agree to teach in person.

    In other words, put or shut up. Either exist or don’t exist, that is Gods choice and that should be the pre-condition for even considering government interference in Religion.

  12. 12 Lauren
    September 12, 2008 at 17:08

    I have no problem with faith based schools. I went to a Catholic high school, not for the religion but for the smaller class sizes and higher quality education. Sure I had to go to church and take religion classes but as a non-Catholic, it provided me with a greater understanding of the Catholic faith which I appreciate.

    As for the government funding, not every country has a clear separation of church and state. The article did state that there are Catholic, Anglican, Muslim etc schools that are government funded so why should a Hindu school create such a stir?

    For me, it comes down to whether or not these schools are admitting ONLY students of a certain faith while denying others, or if they are promoting themselves as a religious school where one set of beliefs will be studied and practiced. And you have to remember that parents are choosing to send their kids to these schools. To say that is dividing communities runs along the same lines as saying going to church/temple etc or practicing your beliefs in public (i.e. not eating meat, wearing head covering etc) is somehow dividing communities. If they are, that has very little to do with religion and a whole lot to do with religious ignorance and intolerance.

  13. 13 Dennis @ OCC
    September 12, 2008 at 17:17

    I think it is a very bad idea….


  14. 14 Jennifer
    September 12, 2008 at 17:18

    Good! 🙂

  15. 15 Tom D Ford
    September 12, 2008 at 17:42

    Government should stay out of religion and religion should stay out of government.

    Even Jesus took that stand with his “Render unto Caesar that which is Caesars and render unto God that which belongs to God”. So no Christian who believes in Jesus can advocate for something that Jesus taught is wrong, it would be Un-Christian to say that government and religion should combine.

  16. 16 Jennifer
    September 12, 2008 at 17:57

    @ Tom

    Seeing as how you don’t believe that God should have ANY place near Government you should send me all of your money! After all, it does say “In God We Trust” on it. 😀

  17. 17 Lauren
    September 12, 2008 at 18:09

    Hi Jennifer!

    Sorry I didn’t catch your question on yesterday’s blog I had a bus to catch! I would have definitely typed you rather then have jamily5 respond!

  18. 18 roebert
    September 12, 2008 at 18:13

    Will Rhodes: I disagree with you. I think it is a very very very very very very bad idea.
    Governments have no business funding religious schools, any more than they should fund any other type of religious institution. I’m not anti-religion by any stretch but, in this case, I think Richard Dawkin, self-righteous rotter that he is, should be brought in to advise the education minister.

  19. 19 Dinka Aliap, Kampala
    September 12, 2008 at 18:58

    NO /YES. Its depend on the society but for my individual understanding, it is appalling ideas because incase there is a religious tentions in the region/country, these school are made vunerable to attacks from their rival group or accussion ,arrest of their leaders by the government and even close down of such a school cannot be excluded because of their extemists behaviours.

  20. 20 Tom D Ford
    September 12, 2008 at 19:58

    Governments have always used religion to oppress and manipulate people, the Pharoahs in ancient Egypt, the Catholic kingdoms, the Church of England, the Islamic empires, India, the religious feudal monarchy of Tibet, etc.

    It is to protect people from government and from government corruption of their religion that the complete separation of church and state should be upheld.

  21. 21 Michael
    September 12, 2008 at 20:03

    I disagree with publicly funded “faith schools”, but support private faith schools. The separation of church and state should be maintained as much as possible.

    I went to Catholic grade school, high school and college and then went to public graduate school and also Catholic graduate school.

    I received an excellent education, learned to think critically, and to appreciate and respect the beliefs that others hold (including different faiths, agnostics and atheists).

    There are definitely both exemplary faith schools and public schools. And certainly there are some faith schools that are extremist and many that are not as well-balanced as what I experienced, but there are also many, many unbalanced public schools that produce students that don’t have a good sense of ethics and respect for others.

    I think people should have a choice, but that choice need not be publicly funded.

  22. 22 Shirley
    September 12, 2008 at 20:35

    As long as the government is not funding the schools, I see no problem in their existence. Religious schools are very convenient, and sometimes necessary, for people of certain rleigions who either prefer or need the religious environment for their children.

  23. 23 Pangolin- California
    September 12, 2008 at 21:10

    This is stupid to the extreme. Education should have a secular core of languages, science, history, math, music, art and biology. If there is time left in the day or on weekends parents can send their children for religious instruction.

    Faith-based schools promote tribalism and all too frequently teach hatred for the out-caste members of the society they are hiding from. They also have a rather nasty habit of warping science, biology and history classes beyond recognition and ignoring music and art altogether. Music and art have been proven to enhance brain development and growth. The brain grows extra wiring that later math and logic functions use.

    Several university’s in the US have considered de-certifying some faith based schools because the kids with top marks seem to still be lacking in education.

  24. 24 abbey
    September 13, 2008 at 01:27

    Faith schools should stay as faith schools , operated and managed by respective faiths under scrutiny and governance of the people who must be part of the board of directors irrespective of their individual religion and faith beliefs.

    Religion cannot be part of the curriculum in the main stream of a nation educational system.
    Todays world is a globalised world, it is more found these days that a classroom of students comes from many cultures and race.

    If a parent feels and opine that their child should also enjoy the successes and happiness of life as he or she have had and still enjoying, then let them divide their child time and the child grooms the way their seniors believe.

    But as nation, the strength and culture of a nation depends on the weight and distribution between scientific based education and arts based features of education of a growing individual .

    If there is any example you may asked that we can learn from such a mistake , by all means please scrutinize the system of education found it malaysia. The education system has migrated to excessive weights placed upon religion which forms part of the main stream education. In the end of the experiment, their products accounts for the majority in the unemployed and mind you it has nothing to do with economics of the nation where priorities and preferential treatment is a norm.

    Bottom line is teach religion and cultural values at home and not in the schools, and the government education and trainings should be free of religious content,

  25. 25 smithcopper
    September 13, 2008 at 01:27

    schools should be secular

  26. 26 objection2it
    September 13, 2008 at 06:34

    it should be illegal for public schools to teach any faith to children under 18 years of age. they are not smart enough to know the difference, that is why the laws don’t allow underage people the rights to get into any legal contracts on their own.

  27. 27 1430a
    September 13, 2008 at 08:40

    not a great idea to have faith schools.

  28. 28 rick
    September 13, 2008 at 11:56

    Hindus? will Hindus of all casts study together? Gods with 6 arms? (or is that 8?) Gods with elephant heads? Gods who deflower 1000 maidins in one night? Lets all pay to have that taught to nimble young minds.
    At least they are not blowing up trains… in the west..yet.

  29. 29 Emile Barre
    September 13, 2008 at 13:43

    There is nothing wrong with Faith schools as long as there is a curriculum which provides knowledge of all related subjects. Faith provides a weltanschauung, a world view which can be modified criticised, maintained or debunked as the child grows in knowledge.

  30. September 13, 2008 at 14:05

    Its really a bad idea to send children to ‘Faith schools’.

  31. 31 EvaCampbell
    September 14, 2008 at 05:59

    Regarding FAITH NASED SCOOLS. I can only comment on the country I live in – Australia- and the country I grew up in England, and Canada where I also lived for several years.

    Its a bad idea in these countries – it will help to divide the community. Already there is division in what used to be a cohesive society , the Muslim or Islamic belief that is so intolerant of any other belief should not be allowed to promoted their ideologies in our schools. They came to the sanctuarly of the West and to live in a peacefull society We must be vigilant against them. They can return to their Islamist countries at anytime.


  32. 32 Jack Hughes
    September 14, 2008 at 08:55

    In the UK we have a big problem with immigrant communities who are not integrated into mainstream society. They live parellel lives, speaking their own languages, eating their own foods, wearing their own clothes, living by their own customs.

    Schools like these can only make things worse.

  33. 33 Tom D Ford
    September 15, 2008 at 19:17

    Governments should not be in the business of promoting and funding superstition and ignorance, if anything, governments should do the exact opposite.

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