PRESS RELEASE Friday 22nd July 2016
S.H.S.G. CHALLENGES SCHOOL’S R.E. POLICY AS ILLEGAL & UNCONSTITUTIONAL & CALLS FOR MINISTERIAL ACTION
The Secular Humanist Society of Gibraltar (S.H.S.G.) is concerned at the continuing misinformation provided by schools regarding Religious Education. Both Bayside and Westside wrongly list R.E. as a compulsory subject, and especially Westside, who specifically target years 12 & 13, claiming all students are 'Required' to attend an admittedly 'christian' curriculum.
It is unclear why the Schools are still saying this, as both they and the Department of Education are fully aware that R.E. is the one subject that they are prohibited under Section 9 of the Constitution as well as Section 42(4) of the Education and Training Act from making compulsory. It is clear that listing R.E. as compulsory and stating that pupils are 'required' to take the subject is incompatible with the Constitution and the relevant legislation.
The S.H.S.G. suggests an opt-in system whereby no pupils are scheduled for R.E. lessons unless the parents request it would be a more appropriate position. At the very least however we would expect the Dept and schools to comply with the Constitution and Law by discontinuing their attempts to coerce students into attending R.E. lessons by wrongly listing it as compulsory. Our children and parents deserve to be told clearly that RE is an optional subject and given the alternatives without obscuring the facts, as is currently the case.
The S.H.S.G. fully expects the Minister to instruct schools to make sure the information provided for the upcoming school year reflects this.
SHSG Media Team