Faith schools (Catholic, Muslim, Jewish, and now Hindu, Jewish), paid for in the most part by British tax payers, are growing stronger and more isolated. Imagine a Jewish faith school in the heart of London, which shields its trusting students from the rest of society so much that the students have heavy Jewish accents, without a trace of that London cockney. Schools where children are taught evolution, but where most students don’t end up “accepting it” (in the words of a teacher at said school). Or a similar faith school, that teaches Noah and the ark together with lessons in science. How is this anything other than miseducation, under the guise of “faith education.”
The BBC has an interesting article about how Faith schools are to get their own vetting. Moreover, this body has been set up in the name of “community cohesion.” Why should “some private Muslim and Christian schools in England” have their own joint inspection body? What is so special about these schools?
Will this joint inspection body overlook the teaching of science and creationism in the same class, overlook those students that don’t “accept it” because of a dogmatic bias in the education, but now do so uniformly across two religions and with a better understanding of why said schools have such a bias? And how does this contribute to community cohesion? When you don’t even have the accent of the country in which you are born, how can we really expect cohesion? How can we expect integration, feelings of shared welfare?
Here‘s a story of a Jewish school reprimanded (by the “powerless ombudsman”) for not taking on a non-Jewish student. Their rules of admission state that the “school gives preference to Jewish children, then siblings of pupils, and thirdly to ‘children of families not of the Jewish faith demonstrating particular moral and/or religious strengths which are not likely to conflict with the Jewish ethos of the school’.” Perhaps their idea is that they’ll accept students outside of the faith if there’s a good chance of converting them to the faith.
The British Humanist Association web site has some great information about faith schools, which I won’t repeat here. As humanist though, surely these faith schools demand our attention. These schools are teaching ignorance to the young – to those that aren’t in a position to know otherwise. Many would I find this repugnant, immoral, and an abuse of authority.
Post Script: The Telegraph has an article on how Female Muslim medics ‘disobey hygiene rules’. Apparently the medical students are not washing their hands properly because the indecency of exposing their arms appears to outweigh their knowledge of science, bacteria and the spread of diseases. So strong is their sense of morality, that they’d rather indirectly spread disease (and perhaps death, albeit inadvertently) – quite contrary to their chosen station.