Dublin- Education Minister Richard Burton has announced that students at schools across the country in second level, equivalent to high school will no longer have to sit through religion classes against their wishes or to take personal study time instead.
The decision effectively makes religion a optional subject in more than 300 schools around Ireland.
“The new arrangements will ensure that children who do not want to participate in religious instruction will no longer be sitting at the back of the class or confined to the library,” Burton said.
The letter was issued to schools by the Department of Education on Monday, as the assumption that majority of students are Catholic can not be assumed today or appropriate.
“In a changing context, the constitutional right not to attend religious instruction must be given effect through changed practices,”
“It is about ascertaining the wishes of parents and reflecting those wishes in the normal arrangements involving the timetabling of choices expressed,” said a spokesperson for the Education department.
Mr Bruton said it is important that, as multi-denominational schools, second-level community and ETB schools fully implement the rules, as they present an important opportunity to meet the expectations of parents and students in a changing society.
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