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

Jacques Rousseau, Critical Thinking and Ethics lecturer at UCT welcomes the High Court ruling on Wednesday that schools cannot promote one religion or favour one over another.

The application was brought by the Organization for Religious Education and Democracy, known as Ogod, and was opposed by the Federation of Governing Bodies of South African Schools as well as other groups such as Afriforum.

Ogod argued that there is religious bias in South African public schools.

It could have gone further, but it is a good start.

Jacques Rousseau, Critical Thinking and Ethics, UCT

We do live in a deeply religious country, and I think that is what leads to this misconception - that secularism has to include anti-religion. And it does not have to be that at all....religions is rather a private matter.

Jacques Rousseau, Critical Thinking and Ethics, UCT

He argues that we do want to cherish. respect and teach the wonderful diversity of belief and culture - but without prescribing any one of them.

So there is certainly a place for education on religion, and religious culture and symbolism. It is a vitally important thing.

Jacques Rousseau, Critical Thinking and Ethics, UCT

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

But what we don't want, says, is to take formative young minds and lead them down a particular path before they are able to think for themselves.

Rosseau explains that the Court ruling left in place school governing boards ability to dictate the nature of religious adherence so long as schools ensured and respected Section 52 of the Constitution - that they were free, equitable and voluntary.

Schools can no longer advertise itself as having a Christian character or having religious symbolism on uniforms.

Up until now, pupils have had the option to 'opt out' of religious practices within schools but he says that often came with judgement and peer pressure, he says.

What we have here is a legal tool for people to hold schools to account to be equitable and fair.

Jacques Rousseau, Critical Thinking and Ethics, UCT

But measuring what is equitable and fair is difficult, and in that sense Rosseau says it is a narrow ruling.

We might find schools justifying what they already do but dressing it up in a different way, he concludes.

Take a listen:


This article first appeared on 702 : "What we have here is a legal tool for people to hold schools to account"


Recommended

by THE NEWSROOM

CapeTalk welcomes all comments that are constructive, contribute to discussions in a meaningful manner and take stories forward.

However, we will NOT condone the following:

  • Racism (including offensive comments based on ethnicity and nationality)
  • Sexism
  • Homophobia
  • Religious intolerance
  • Cyber bullying
  • Hate speech
  • Derogatory language
  • Comments inciting violence.

We ask that your comments remain relevant to the articles they appear on and do not include general banter or conversation as this dilutes the effectiveness of the comments section.

We strive to make the CapeTalk community a safe and welcoming space for all.

CapeTalk reserves the right to: 1) remove any comments that do not follow the above guidelines; and, 2) ban users who repeatedly infringe the rules.

Should you find any comments upsetting or offensive you can also flag them and we will assess it against our guidelines.

CapeTalk is constantly reviewing its comments policy in order to create an environment conducive to constructive conversations.

Read More
Cape Town's alleged underworld extortionist charged with murder

Cape Town's alleged underworld extortionist charged with murder

Details of Nafiz Modack and Jaques Cronje's involvement in the stabbing of a bouncer at Cubana in Green Point have emerged in court.

DA starting to look more like ANC as factional battle unravels, says  Haffajee

DA starting to look more like ANC as factional battle unravels, says Haffajee

Mmusi Maimane has his work cut out for him trying to repair DA's reputation ahead of the 2019 elections, says Ferial Haffajee.

Chris Maroleng not SABC COO until Cabinet seals the deal

Chris Maroleng not SABC COO until Cabinet seals the deal

In a statement, the Communications Minister explains that the appointment of SABC executives must go through a Cabinet processes.

'CT city manager submitted resignation instead of reasons to keep job on Friday'

'CT city manager submitted resignation instead of reasons to keep job on Friday'

Cape Town city manager Achmat Ebrahim has resigned after more than 10 years at the helm amid misconduct allegations.

Cuts on domestic routes a promising sign for SAA turnaround - Guy Leitch

Cuts on domestic routes a promising sign for SAA turnaround - Guy Leitch

Aviation expert Guy Leitch says the decision taken under the leadership of new SAA CEO Vuyani Jarana makes commercial sense.

Herron: Allegations facing CPT transport authority misreported as corruption

Herron: Allegations facing CPT transport authority misreported as corruption

The City's MayCo member for Transport, Brett Herron, says his involvement in the transport contracts has been limited.

Popular articles
Madiba’s private secretary Zelda la Grange opens up about money (hers and his)

Madiba’s private secretary Zelda la Grange opens up about money (hers and his)

Bruce Whitfield interviews La Grange about her and Madiba's attitude to money (hopes and fears, successes and failures, etc.)

Government moves to seize R1.6 billion in Gupta assets

Government moves to seize R1.6 billion in Gupta assets

The Asset Forfeiture Unit is gunning for the Guptas, says City Press. Bruce Whitfield interviews ENS Africa’s Steven Powell.

Schweppes leaves a bad taste in consumers mouth with their branding mix-up

Schweppes leaves a bad taste in consumers mouth with their branding mix-up

‘You'd have a gin and tonic & you’d find hold on, that’s not tonic water I’ve put in there, that’s soda water' - Stephen Grootes

WATCH: The EFF has scored an own goal says Eusebius

WATCH: The EFF has scored an own goal says Eusebius

Eusebius McKaiser questions the party's use of vandalism during weekend demonstrations at H&M.

SANParks accused of not taking responsibility for the safety of hikers

SANParks accused of not taking responsibility for the safety of hikers

This past weekend, hikers were attacked at St James Peak in Kalk bay. Police are looking for two suspects.

It's not the end of the road... Top tips to improve your matric

It's not the end of the road... Top tips to improve your matric

"Recognise that it’s not the end, it’s the beginning." Expert advise for school-leavers who want to improve their results.