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UK needs to uphold religious lessons

10 Apr 2012 11:06

Source : Press tv

The outgoing Archbishop of Canterbury has warned about the dangers of ‘downgrading’ religious education in Britain’s secondary schools.

Bfnews: In his Easter Sermon, Rowan Williams said it was the ‘worst possible moment’ to undermine the teaching of religion to teenagers.

He told the congregation at Canterbury Cathedral that apparent hostility towards faith among the young had been exaggerated and that many took the issue of religion seriously.

Williams, who will resign as Archbishop of Canterbury at the end of the year, said pupils appreciated the role it plays in shaping human existence and are keen to learn about it.

“There is plenty to suggest that younger people, while still statistically deeply unlikely to be churchgoers, don’t have the hostility to faith that one might expect, but at least share some sense that there is something here to take seriously - when they have a chance to learn about it”, he said.

“It is about the worst possible moment to downgrade the status and professional excellence of religious education in secondary schools, but that’s another sermon”, the Archbishop added.

Under current guidelines all five to 16-year-olds must study RE at school and all 14 to 16-year-olds must take at least half a GCSE in religious studies.

But research published last year showed that one in four comprehensive and academy schools do not teach religious studies at GCSE and nearly a third of grammars are now also shirking the obligation.

The study came after RE was left out of the subjects counting towards the English Baccalaureate. This is given to teenagers who score at least a C at GCSE in English, maths, science, a foreign language and a humanities subject, which is limited to history and geography.