Thursday 24 August 2017

Minister scraps 51-year-old religion rule for primary schools

Education Minister Jan O’Sullivan deleted Rule 68 yesterday and immediately issued a circular advising schools. Stock image
Education Minister Jan O’Sullivan deleted Rule 68 yesterday and immediately issued a circular advising schools. Stock image
Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

The rule that says religion must underpin the daily life of primary schools has been dropped after 51 years.

Education Minister Jan O'Sullivan deleted Rule 68 yesterday and immediately issued a circular advising schools.

Speaking at the annual conference of the Irish Primary Principals Network, she described Rule 68 as "a symbol of our past, and not our future", adding: "I'm glad it's gone."

The minister has also asked her officials to identify other rules in the 1965 Rulebook for National Schools that could be rescinded.

In the modern day, the deletion of Rule 68 is likely to have little practical effect, although its continued existence was seen as an obstacle to true inclusivity in schools.

In response, the Bishops' Council for Education said the announcement "does not change the teaching of religious education in Catholic schools".

The abolition of Rule 68 was recommended by the Group on Pluralism and Patronage.

The Irish National Teachers Organisation, which had called for its deletion, welcomed the announcement, as did EQUATE, a children's charity seeking education reform.

Irish Independent

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