North Coast parents are being encouraged to strongly support a national campaign to maintain religious education in state schools.
The campaign, to be launched this month, is being sponsored by ICCOREIS, the peak body for Special Religious Education in Government schools.
SRE covers not only Christianity but other faiths including the Buddhism, Islam and Judaism
Under current legislation SRE, or “School Scripture”, is granted one period per week in government schools.
Students have the option of attending Scripture or Non Scripture where they focus on ethics and values.
Attendance at Scripture classes varies considerably. In Sydney’s West, the North Shore and many provincial and country areas attendance levels are high.
Elsewhere they can be much lower.
ICCOREIS spokesperson, Murray Norman, says Scripture in Schools is much more than Bible Study.
“We want all parents to understand that SRE is about values, and encouraging children to question life, explore ideals and discover faith.
“The public campaign aims to inform parents that SRE supports them in building a better-balanced future for their children, by engaging students in conversations consistent with the values of their families.
“We must remember that every child who is a part of the SRE program is there because their parents choose to enrol them and chose the religious affiliation according to their beliefs.”
“Our experience is that the more information we provide parents, the more they choose the option of SRE for their children, so we are hoping this wide-spread campaign ensures that more parents are informed.” Mr Norman said.
North Coast Anglican ICCOREIS representative, the Rev. Mike Ridge of Dorrigo, says successful SRE programs have run for many years at the primary and high schools in Dorrigo and Bellingen
“These programs are helping to promote a values based education and a Christian worldview.
“All our SRE teachers meet a standard of proficiency and all material we use is approved by the Department of Education.
“We encounter an enthusiastic response from students and a level of questioning and discussion which is encouraging and at times, challenging.”
The aim of the campaign is to increase the knowledge and awareness of SRE among parents.
It will include a wide dispersal of brochures, posters and fliers.
The Rev. Mike Ridge, 02-66572015???