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

 

Cap Bocage: Anti-Mining Campaign Doco Debuts At NZ Film Festival

Playing at this year’s New Zealand International Film Festival, Cap Bocage is a close-up exploration of the forces that came into play when environmental issues and indigenous rights became intertwined in New Caledonia ... More>>

Film Fest:

More Film:

Sharon Ellis Review: A View From The Bridge

Arthur Miller’s A View From the Bridge is Circa’s latest big production, it opened on Saturday 19 July and it is a stunning triumph. More>>

Māori Language Week: He Karanga Kia Kaha Ake Te Tīhau Ki Te Reo Māori

The Māori Language Commission wishes to see social media swamped with Māori language tweets and messages for Te Wiki o te Reo Māori using the hashtag #tekupu. More>>

ALSO:

Book Vote: Kiwis Prefer Young Adult & Classics

To compile their Top 100 List for 2014, Whitcoulls again asked New Zealanders to vote for their favourite books and authors. And while classic novels continue to appeal to Kiwi readers, 2014 marks a significant new trend – the increasing popularity of novels for young adults. More>>

ALSO:

Five NZ Cities: Bill Bailey Back To The Southern Hemisphere

The gap between how we imagine our lives to be and how they really are is the subject of Bill’s new show Limboland. With his trademark intelligence and sharp wit, he tells tales of finding himself in this halfway place. More>>

Scoop Review Of Books: Book Television Is Coming

Carole Beu of The Women’s Bookshop in Auckland, Graham Beattie of The Book Blog and producer Deb Faith of FaceTV have raised enough money via crowd funding at Boosted – just under $7,000 so far – for 12 episodes, which begin production in September, and will be on screen later that month. More>>

Electric Sheep: Light Nelson Exceeds All Expectations

Light Nelson exceeded all expectations drawing over 40,000 people over two nights to the Queens Gardens and surrounds. The event, with over 40 installations from local and national artists, is in its second year, and organisers were hoping they’d top last year’s crowd of 16,000. More>>

MacGyver: Richard Dean Anderson To Attend Armageddon This October

New Zealand’s biggest pulp-culture event, the Armageddon Expo is proud to announce the world’s most recognised DIY action hero will be attending the Auckland event at the ASB Showgrounds from October 24th to 27th. More>>

ALSO:

Barbershop Gold: Māori Party Singing Praises Of The Musical Island Boys

The Maori Party has congratulated four young men on a mission, who in 2002 took up barbershop singing at Tawa College, and tonight took out the Gold Medal in the 2014 International Barbershop Harmony Society competitions in Las Vegas. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Education
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news