Uniting or Dividing?

A joint document signed by the Government and the leaders of Britain’s main faiths communities, published this week, emphasises that faith schools play a main role in fostering understanding between different religions. They promote integration and community cohesion. Said the Times newspaper.

But faith school build these bridges or create them? It is said that there are nearly 15,000 Muslim children and some 11,000 Jewish children, who go to an independent school with a particular religious character. Some of these families are from a poor background and can ill afford the fees. The paper is meant to amend this situation.

According to this document, these and thousands more children from the minority religions will be educated in the new state funded faith schools.
This change comes amid growing fears that a generation of Muslim children have grown up segregated from the British society. Because their parents spoke poor English, or they went to an independent faith school. This move will also give the government more control on what they will be taught. It is reported that only a handful of Muslim children are attending state schools.

Despite these statistics, am not convinced that more faith schools are the answer to integration. France has banned all the religious symbols from the country’s schools. They say that they want to educate their future citizens as just that, and not divide them by their religion.

So how would providing more, state funded faith schools will “promote integration and community cohesion?” If, as the paper suggests a whole generation of children have grown up alienated to British culture, because their parents didn’t speak the language or integrated in British society. Then how educating them in faith segregated schools will improve this situation?

I accept that culture can’t be enforced, but going to a school where others are from different background is a start. It gives them a chance to make friends with others, visit their homes and see how the other half- lives.

However good the results of a single faith school, I cant imagine others queuing to send their children to a Muslim school.
So how will this promote integration? I feel it is another policy, which will divide the communities further.

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