Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Religion in School

This topic came up when we were connecting our school activities to GNH domains. Many were confidently listing prayers, Rimdro and religious discourses in schools as activities they have in place that caters to Cultural Diversity. Where is diversity in an institution where one religion is generously practised without any regards to other believes?
I raised a question about how compulsory attendance in prayers and other buddhist discourses in schools might be disregarding children from different faith. And how this is unconstitutional. To which the facilitator, who used to be my teacher in Drukgyel, gave a very satisfying answer. He cited an example from a school in Thailand where the school hall has alters for different faiths, which he said could be an ideal concept. But he said if we are looking for a workable solution then respecting their faith and allowing them to stay away from normal religious activities could be realistic. However, he said, the best solution is to educate the children to such depth that they attain the openness to embrace the diversity, and be able to accept and tolerate. That sounded the most difficult and most convincing. Only this has the long term value which we are seeking. 

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