Equality in Education Campaigns Gather Pace!
The momentum to change the education system which discriminates against the non-religious is gathering pace with the launch of three campaigns in December.On 9 December, the umbrella group, Equate, was officially launched. This group is directed by Michael Barron, founder of the LGB
T youth group Belong To, who also played a key role in the successful same-sex marriage campaign.
Equate commissioned a poll of 1,000 people to find out their views on religion and education. Almost 85 per cent of people believe the education system should be reformed to ensure no child is excluded on the basis of their religion. A large majority (77 per cent) said they did not think a school should have the right to refuse admission to a child who has a different religion to that of the school’s patron.
The poll found that almost half of people (47 per cent) would not choose a Christian school for their child if they had a choice locally. Another one in five respondents said they were aware of someone who had baptised their child just to get them into a local school.
In January, Equate will be launching a national public awareness campaign that will empower parents, young people and the general public to believe that changing our education system is possible and is the right thing to do. You can follow their campaign on Twitter @equateireland
On International Human Rights Day, 10 December, HAI members Roopesh Panicker and Fachtna Roe organised a protest at Leinster House as the Equality in Education Alliance, and sent letters to the Ministers for Justice and Education calling for an end to religious discrimination in schools admissions.
They also delivered letters to every TD and Senator to mark International Human Rights Day, asking them to state their position on discrimination in schools. Their responses can be tracked here VoteForEquality.ie
On 14 December, Education Equality launched its campaign which is calling for equal access to all State-funded schools for all children regardless of beliefs, and for faith formation to be confined to a distinct period of time, at the end of the school day and outside of core school hours, so that one religion is not imposed on children who do not share the school patron’s religion. Chairperson April Duff said “We have gathered 30 personal stories written by our members who are affected by religious discrimination in the school system – eye-witness accounts of the discrimination, written in the first person, from many different angles. We will release these stories, one a day, on our website and social media each day for the next 30 days to open people’s eyes to the real human effects of the discriminatory system”
You can follow these stories on Education Equality’s website here