Kerala

Norms set for religious studies in schools

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Take parents’ permission: panel

The Directorate of General Education has issued a circular that as per the Kerala Education Rules (KER), government-recognised schools or those receiving grant from the government cannot compel a student to take part in religious studies or rituals in the school or in its vicinity without the permission of the student’s parent or guardian.

The circular comes in the wake of an order of the Kerala State Commission for Protection of Child Rights. The order by commission chairperson P. Suresh and member K. Nazeer followed a complaint from two students in Palakkad that the headmistress of Vadakkanchery Cherupushpam Girls Higher Secondary School had been taking them to churches for prayers. If they refused to take part in the prayers, they were depicted in poor light.

They were also not allowed to wear full sleeves and scarves as per Islamic tradition. The Palakkad district child protection officer in a report submitted to the commission said religious classes were taken for the majority of the students who were Christian, while for others, it was moral education. Children were made to take part in Christian prayers. Muslim students were at present allowed to wear scarves, it said.

Headmistress’ stance

The headmistress in her report denied that anyone was forced to take part in prayers as per Christian tradition.

As moral education was mandatory under KER, the petitioners could not keep away from it. The headmistress said the school had not discriminated against students on the basis of religion.

In the wake of lack of evidence before the commission that the headmistress forced any student to take part in rituals, the commission did not issue any special order in the matter.

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Printable version | Jan 23, 2020 1:11:42 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/norms-set-for-religious-studies-in-schools/article30488055.ece

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