It is not the school's task to instruct children on religion - Ogod

A ruling in the High Court in Johannesburg has established that government schools may not place one religion above another or favour one religion above others.

The application was brought by the Organization for Religious Education and Democracy, Ogod, after it argued that there is religious bias in South African public schools.

Stephen Grootes spoke to the organisation's Hans Pietersen.

Pietersen says the group is completely in favor of the ruling.

It is not the school's task to instruct children how to be religious for the simple reason that state money on infrastructure is spent on promoting a specific religion which in most cases is Christianity.

Hans Pietersen, spokesperson

Schools may have religious observances on their grounds, we are completely in favor of that by those may not be arranged by the schools themselves.

Hans Pietersen, spokesperson

READ: High Court rules schools cannot promote one religion

It has nothing to do with Christianity as such, but we must level the playing field, we can't use state money and infrastructure to promote a specific religion and we have to add that of all the schools and people that came to us complaining were about Christianity being enforced.

Hans Pietersen, spokesperson

Those days are over, he says, the old Christian National Education model was buried in 1996.

He explains that the judgment is not against religion.

We want religions to be equal and welcome at schools and that is what the judgement is about... that is completely different from a teacher standing up in a class telling a child that if you don't want to pray to Jesus, go outside.

Hans Pietersen, spokesperson

Trade union Solidarity is one of the organisations that opposed the application.

Deputy General Secretary, Johan Kruger says a school governing body should still be allowed to take on a Christian ethos.

Related article: "What we have here is a legal tool for people to hold schools to account"

Even though it is a public school, it serves the public and community it is situated in and because it serves that community. We believe that the governing body is able to decide on that ethos and that in our view has not been changed in that judgment at all.

Johan Kruger, Deputy General Secretary

Click on the link below to listen to the full audio....


This article first appeared on 702 : It is not the school's task to instruct children on religion - Ogod


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