Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Bishop Herbert Advocates Religious Education of Children

London: All young people should be given the opportunity to be entitled to provision for their moral and spiritual development, the Anglican Bishop of St Albans has told the Government. Speaking in the House of Lords on the Government’s Education and Skills Bill, the Rt Rev Christopher Herbert said the spiritual requirements of under-18s who are not at school should be considered.

The Bill will require all young people to remain in education or training until the age of 18, but Bishop Herbert said that current provisions on spiritual and moral development only apply to schools and not colleges.

He said in the debate on Tuesday, June 10: “What I propose is simple: all young people, not just those who are gifted or lucky enough to be pursuing A-level studies in schools, should be entitled to provision for their moral and spiritual development and should be faced with those moral and spiritual challenges that go with adult life. Human flourishing is not solely dependent on the acquisition of skills.”

Bishop Herbert said he could name examples of excellent practice in colleges in his own diocese which run “imaginative and innovative programmes to engage with different faiths and encourage greater social cohesion”. But he added: “Only half of further education colleges have chaplaincies while other colleges argue that they are not funded to provide for students’ spiritual and moral development and yet others that insist that these issues are purely a private matter. “But they are not a private matter - they affect public life at every level of society. In further education where a higher proportion of students are from black and ethnic minorities and from white working class estates where gang culture can be prevalent, these young people deserve above all an education that, prepares them for all the responsibilities and experiences of adult life.”

Source: Religious Intelligence

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