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Faith schools

edited October 2005 in Buddhism Today
Not quite sure which forum this might belong in...

There's a lot of debate in England about whether schools based on a particular faith are segregating culturally diverse local communities. It is also said that these children gain a higher level of education. So is it good for a multi-cultural society or not?

I have not heard of any buddhist faith schools - are there any?

Comments

  • buddhafootbuddhafoot Veteran Veteran
    edited October 2005
    I haven't heard of any - unless there is a country of Buddha or a Buddhaville somewhere. That might be your best shot.

    -bf
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator
    edited October 2005
    Bob, at the time I left the Uk to come and live in Fance, (1999) I was a School Governor for a Roman Catholic Diocesian Primary school in Hampshire, which had a 'Sister' Secondary school. Both my daughters attended the Primary, and my eldest went to the Secondary.

    I firmly believe the education they received was of a superior level, as the Osfted Results of the two schools bore out. However, whether this was down to their Catholicism, I don't feel qualified to say - At the time of my departure, moves were being made to ensure that Governing Bodies of Diocesian schools would have a member of the Local Council on them, purely in an observational & advisory capacity. To what point this has developped or progressed I'm also unable to say, but the objective was to integrate the school more closely with the general Community and to demonstrate their success to other schools that they might attempt to emulate and reproduce similar results for themselves.

    You could try asking the Department of Education whether there are any specifically Buddhist-oriented schools, but one final thing I would like to mention, is that all Diocesian schools were instructed by the Department of Education, in no uncertain terms, that instruction on the other five main global religions should also be included in Religious Studies. Buddhism was one of those religions, and I'm proud to say that I helped The Curate set up 'The Quiet Room' in the School, (It does exactly what it says on the tin!) decorating it with themes, pictures and items from the six main religions. (Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism and Buddhism.)
  • SimonthepilgrimSimonthepilgrim Veteran Veteran
    edited October 2005
    "Faith" schools present interesting problems. Just recently, the Jewish Free School in London has refused entry to a child because said child was deemed not to be Jewish.

    The child's mother converted to Judaism in Israel and is considered Jewish under Israeli religious and civil law. Unfortunately, our Chief Rabbi has decided (for reasons which are, I am sure, entirely clear to him) that the conversion procedure was defective. The mother is thus not Jewish, in his eyes. As a result, he objected to the child going to the school (Jewishness is inherited through the mother only).

    My own attitude to schools which exist because of the religion of the children's parents varies from time to time. I can understand the arguments on both sides and I am not sure if such schools are good or bad for society at large. Round her, we have a number of schools based on the ideas and philosophy of Rudolf Steiner (anthroposophy). Their curriculum and educational stages are very different from the mainstream. The children there tend to come from reasonably well-off backgrounds so that it is difficult to judge if the system would be of wider value. What I do know is that they appear to have high levels of bullying!

    The real problem is, I think, the idea that "our" belief system is better than another's, which is prevalent among the pupils at faith schools. Personally, I tend to prefer a secular education system rather than one which includes any measure of religious indoctrination or brain-washing.
  • edited October 2005
    The issue that comes up in the media regards post 1st generation immigrants. By sending children to a school where they are surrounded only by people of a similar background, when they get older they will be less able to integrate and participate with the rest of society in general.

    Fede, at the middle-school i went to the catholic kids weren't allowed to attend RE lessons or assembly (because there were prayers/hymns. When i asked one of them why they said it was because they were catholic. Was this just an isolated case?
  • SimonthepilgrimSimonthepilgrim Veteran Veteran
    edited October 2005
    twobitbob wrote:
    ................. Was this just an isolated case?

    This was certainly the case back in the '60s. And our one Jehovah's Witness was also excused morning prayers!

    I'm sure you all know the old story about the little Jewish boy who refused to work at any school until he was sent to the local convent school. Within days his grades improved and his behaviour became exemplary. Taxed by his parents, he explained that, on his first day, he saw a big crucifix in the classroom: "If that's what they do to our boys," he said, "I decided I'd better behave!"
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator
    edited October 2005
    twobitbob wrote:
    Fede, at the middle-school i went to the catholic kids weren't allowed to attend RE lessons or assembly (because there were prayers/hymns. When i asked one of them why they said it was because they were catholic. Was this just an isolated case?

    No.
    When I was around 10, I used to live right next door to a Church of England Church, and go to a C of E school. Together with some fellow pupils, I started singing in the choir, and was astonished one day to have my dad walk down the aisle, take my hand and lead me out, without so much as a word to either me or the Choirmaster. When I asked him, outside, why I couldn't stay, he merely replied (to one so young and innocent) "It's just not the done thing...." !!
    The ribbing I got on the Monday was far more humiliating and hurtful than what he did. Ah well.....!
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