Don’t mess with religious education!
That was the forceful message from the Pentecostal Assemblies of the West Indies (PAWI) to political scientist Tennyson Joseph who yesterday urged the Freundel Stuart administration to scrap religious education and replace the curriculum with an entirely secular one.
PAWI Bishop Gerry Seale said there could be major social fallout if Government accepts Joseph’s advice and scraps religious teaching.
“I would be extremely concerned about education that does not have a moral foundation,” Seale, whose organization has a following of 7,600 in 26 local assemblies, told Barbados TODAY.
“An entirely secular delivery of education without a moral foundation cannot be in the best interest of Barbados or any other country.”
Speaking yesterday during a session of the Barbados Senior Parliament at the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies, Joseph said a universally accepted secular curriculum would eradicate any conflicts which might exist for non-Christian members of this island’s increasingly diverse society.
The issue of home schooling was thrown into the national spotlight after a Rastafarian couple was brought before the court for refusing to send their children to school. In September Ijui Jah and his partner Isartes Ibre were found guilty of breaching Section 41 of the Education Act on the grounds that there was no record of the children attending formal classes.
The presidents of the island’s two major teachers unions – the Barbados Union of Teachers and the Barbados Secondary Teachers Union – told Barbados TODAY they had not yet seen Joseph’s statement and would first have to familiarize themselves with it before commenting. Minister of Education Ronald Jones could not be reached for a comment.