Children’s right to secular education should trump religious patronage

In the debate on school patronage, much has been said about rights, but have you heard anyone mention the rights of the most important people in education, children.

Children’s right to secular education should trump religious patronage

Shouldn’t a child’s right to an education be superior to the right of religious organisations and parents to State-sponsored, faith-based education?

Isn’t it a violation of a child’s human rights that they are converted to a religion that their parents don’t believe in, so as to receive an education?

Isn’t it a violation of a child’s human rights that when religion is taught, they either exclude themselves from class, thus emphasising their separateness, or stay in class and are exposed to another religion’s teaching?

In a country with increasing numbers of different faiths, it is impractical for every child to have a local school that matches their parents’ beliefs.

Perhaps it is time to consider a model that gives every child the equal right to education, and to receive education that doesn’t exclude them or infringe their religious rights.

The only way to vindicate these rights is a secular education. The good thing about a secular education is that it doesn’t discriminate against children of any belief or non-belief; all children are treated inclusively and equally.

Surely, that is the only consideration of importance in this debate.

Jason Fitzharris

Swords

Co Dublin

More in this section