Monday, 15 September 2008

British Humanist Association to sue exam agency after humanism excluded from RE syllabus

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Religion and education - that's the theme on this blog today. In an unprecedented and important move, the British Humanist Association has mounted legal action against the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) following its decision to reject the inclusion of humanism on a religious education syllabus, which would have allowed for the study of humanist ideas in the RE GCSE in the same detail as Christianity, Islam and Judaism.

OCR, a leading exam board, had decided earlier this year to include humanism in its RE GCSE, but the QCA's regulator, Ofqual, rejected the decision, saying it would have allowed for the study of humanism without the need to study other religions, as explained by a spokeperson quoted in the Guardian: "The subject criteria for the GCSE in religious studies require the study of one or more religions. These criteria were created by experts following extensive consultation."

The BHA believe the QCA's decision is discriminatory, as their Director of Education, Andrew Copson explained upon launching legal proceedings:
"The study of Humanism alongside religions as an example of a non-religious worldview is recommended by the Government and QCA's own National Framework for RE. Its inclusion contributes to making the study of RE more meaningful for the vast majority of young people who are not religious, and also introduces invaluable perspectives on the big questions of life from which all pupils benefit ... We have now issued legal proceedings against the QCA's decision, as we believe that it is unlawful - contrary to their own subject criteria and to human rights law. It threatens to turn back the progress of recent decades towards a more inclusive, educationally valid and objective subject of RE and is a real kick in the teeth for all who have worked for that progress."


fotofill said...

As an ex-RE teacher I find it strange that they would not allow Humanism on the examination. If I had been marking any of the papers I would have awarded points if they had compare and contrasted the Christian and Humanist view on Creation for example. It should knowledge and understanding of both views.
Philip Evans

sanjaysanjat said...

There's certainly no humanism in this:
british exam

and this is for citizenship!