Teachers Union questions the credentials of religious instructors in state schools

CHERYL YONG

Queensland Teachers Union (QTU) Vice President Julie Brown said religious instruction should be taught by qualified or registered teachers in Queensland state schools.

This initiative has been  specifically designed to offer students better religious education.

QTU said anyone teaching religious education in state schools should be registered otherwise it should be taught at home.

“Religious classes in most state schools are done by representatives or volunteers of a faith group who go through some training about how to deliver those classes, but they are not qualified teachers,” Ms Brown said.

“If you are going to have someone in the class with kids, it should be a registered teacher.”

Ms Brown expressed concern over the lack of schools acknowledging the presence of different religions because she believes Christian education lacks a diverse religious program.

“Students attending religious education being taught by them [Christian educators] will learn something about the Christian faith but will end up at the end of their school education knowing nothing whatsoever about the other religions,” she said.

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State should be responsible for educating students about religion on the whole. Photo: Wikimedia

University of Queensland political commentator Professor Phillip Almond said he supports religious education.

However he believes that religious education should be put into the hands of the state as opposed to conducted by churches.

“The purpose of that would be to educate, to inform so that every student knows something about the major religions of the world,” Dr Almond said.

While one of the concerns about religious teaching is that it will lead to indoctrination, Dr Almond disagrees.

“I don’t think that’s true. What I think is true is that kids are not being well educated by trained teachers about religion on the whole other than Christianity,” he said.

Labor spokesperson for education Nino Riley said representatives of a faith group must be accredited by their religious leader and should have completed a ‘Working with Children Check’.

“It is the duties of the religious leaders or approved instructors of a faith group to provide religious education in Queensland state school not the teachers,” Mr Riley said.

 

 

 

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