Education Policy | Post Primary | Preschool | Primary | Tertiary | Search

 


Human Rights Commission’s position on religion in schools

Human Rights Commission’s position on religion in schools

The Human Rights Commission’s position on religion in schools is set out in its 2008 booklet, Religion in Schools. The booklet only applies to state primary schools.

Private schools and integrated schools are not required to provide a secular education. Teaching also does not have to be explicitly secular in state secondary schools as Boards of Trustees have some flexibility about how they choose to provide religious instruction. Any observance must be provided in a non-discriminatory way and pupils need to be able to opt out.

The position in relation to primary schools is set out in the Education Act 1964:

• Under s.77 education must be secular during school hours;
• Section 78 allows schools to close for an hour a week for religious observance or instruction. (A school is considered to be “closed” outside of normal teaching hours and at lunchtime);
• Section 79 allows children to opt out if their parents do not wish them to participate.

Because the Bill of Rights applies, it moderates (but does not override) the Education Act. So pupils must not be discriminated against if they choose (or chose not) to participate in religious observance or in how they manifest their belief (for example, wearing an item such as a headscarf or Magen David could be considered justified in a secular school).

In allowing students to opt out, a school must ensure that they are treated with dignity and arrangements made to ensure that the students are supervised and safe during the period they are not with the other students.

Providing a secular education does not mean that schools cannot teach about religion. What the Act proscribes is teaching about a belief in a way that encourages adherence to a belief. The distinction is between studying what people believe and teaching a student what to believe.

There is no requirement that religious instruction should be Christian. Although in practice most of the instruction is offered by an organisation called Bible in Schools which is Christian, schools should consider any offer to provide instruction on a non-discriminatory basis.

A school may also choose to celebrate cultural or religious events provided it is not done in a discriminatory way and again reasonable options are available for those who do not wish to participate.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 
Werewolf: Katniss Joins The News Team

From the outset, the Hunger Games series has dwelt obsessively on the ways that media images infiltrate our public and personal lives... From that grim starting point, Mockingjay Part One takes the process a few stages further. There is very little of the film that does not involve the characters (a) being on screens (b) making propaganda footage to be screened and (c) reacting to what other characters have been doing on screens. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Review Of Books: Ko Witi Te Kaituhituhi

Witi Ihimaera, the distinguished Māori author and the first Māori to publish a book of short stories and a novel, has adopted a new genre with his latest book. But despite its subtitle, this book is a great deal more than a memoir of childhood. More>>

Werewolf: Rescuing Paul Robeson

Would it be any harder these days, for the US government to destroy the career of a famous American entertainer and disappear them from history – purely because of their political beliefs? You would hope so. In 1940, Paul Robeson – a gifted black athlete, singer, film star, Shakespearean actor and orator – was one of the most beloved entertainers on the planet. More>>

ALSO:

"Not A Competition... A Quest": Chapman Tripp Theatre Award Winners

Big winners on the night were Equivocation (Promising Newcomer, Best Costume, Best Director and Production of the Year), Kiss the Fish (Best Music Composition, Outstanding New NZ Play and Best Supporting Actress), and Watch (Best Set, Best Sound Design and Outstanding Performance). More>>

ALSO:

Film Awards: The Dark Horse Scores Big

An inspirational film based on real life Gisborne speed-chess coach An inspirational film based on real life Gisborne speed-chess coach Genesis Potini, made all the right moves to take out top honours along with five other awards at the Rialto Channel New Zealand Film Awards - nicknamed The Moas. More>>

ALSO:

Theatre: Ralph McCubbin Howell Wins 2014 Bruce Mason Award

The Bruce Mason Playwriting Award was presented to Ralph McCubbin Howell at the Playmarket Accolades in Wellington on 23 November 2014. More>>

ALSO:

One Good Tern: Fairy Tern Crowned NZ Seabird Of The Year

The fairy tern and the Fiji petrel traded the lead in the poll several times. But a late surge saw it come out on top with 1882 votes. The Fiji petrel won 1801 votes, and 563 people voted for the little blue penguin. More>>

Music Awards: Lorde Reigns Supreme

Following a hugely successful year locally and internationally, Lorde has done it again taking out no less than six Tuis at the 49th annual Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Education
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news