Letter: Religion not for the Baccalaureate

Here’s another letter to the Shields Gazette in response to an article covering Jarrow MP Stephen Hepburn’s Early Day Motion (1375) which calls for Religious Education to be included in the English Baccalaureate.  It’s not ‘new’ news, as the EDM is several months old and the number of supporting signatories is pathetic. It is concerning that any MPs would support such a stupid motion, and particularly as a supporter of the Green Party, that the only Green MP Caroline Lucas has put her name to another EDM which promotes faith before fact.

Your article, headlined ‘MP fights to keep religion in schools’ (Tuesday 19 April), implies that as Religious Education is not included in the English Baccalaureate, RE is being eliminated from education. However, RE is still available on the curriculum for students to select, which is much-removed from the misleading headline implication that religion is being removed from schools.

The English Baccalaureate reflects the key qualifications that universities, particularly those in the Russell group, are looking for when deciding on student admissions. The Baccalaureate is simply a recognition of the real-world expectations of the universities, realised as a recommended curriculum for students wishing to go on to university education.

It astounds me though, that any MP would want to make ‘RE an educational priority’ when surely reality based subjects like mathematics, science and english, should be the real priorities, not the philosophical ditherings of religions over the ages.

The fact that the campaign Mr Hepburn sponsored along with Caroline Lucas, Peter Bottomley, Tony Cunningham and Jim Dobbin is backed by a Christian evangelical organisation rather than an educational one is indeed worrying.

There’s no harm in learning about religions, but forcing it on students who are busy preparing the groundwork for a future career is not only irrational and an unfair added pressure, but extremely unethical when backed by religious groups intent on recruiting more souls for their supernatural super-being.

And frankly, do they really want to bore students to death with irrelevant myths and mumbo-jumbo?


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