Monday, 10 June 2013

A New International Secular School Opens In India & Secular Education

Responsible Charity's first secular school and centre for children and families
in Kolkata, India. (photo source: Facebook)
As you probably know, I've been a supporter of the Kasese Humanist Primary School in Uganda over the past year or so.

And it seems Uganda is blessed with the Uganda Humanist Schools Trust as well, which features a network of Humanist schools.

But there are other similarly secular education projects springing up across the world.

Could this be a sign of an oncoming flourishing of secular schools?  I hope so. I really do.


New School In India

On June 1st, Responsible Charity, opened a long-awaited secular school in Kolkata, India!
After two and half years of working in the slums and on the ground, fundraising, pleading, negotiating and establishing relationships in India and globally, we were finally able to sign a lease on a space to open our first secular school and center for children and their families living in poverty in Kolkata. 
This is fantastic news! You can sponsor this charity here.

New Ethics Course In Cambodia

Then you have this joint project between Atheist Alliance International and the Cambodian Children's Trust, Critical Thinking and Secular Ethics in Cambodia.
We will teach them to question. We will show them how to work out what is ethical or unethical (or somewhere in between). We will teach them to be able to identify flaws in arguments. We will educate them about the major religions and, with the skills they develop in this course, enable them to make up their own minds.

Secular Humanist Education Against Witchcraft Superstition In Malawi

Then you have the "Malawian James Randi", George Thindwa, who's Secular Humanist organization has received over 1/2 million dollars to combat the superstitious belief of witchcraft in Malawi: Malawian Secular Humanist Gets Norwegian Aid to Stop Witch Hunts.
The Norwegian embassy has pledged K206,980,200 ($576,000 CAN) to the Malawian Association of Secular Humanism for a three-year long program to eradicate witchcraft based violence towards women and children across the country.

Alas, Secular Education In The 'Developed' World

Meanwhile, in the developed world I honestly have my doubts whether our public school system was ever really secular in the proper sense.

Here in Canada, we have a history of church entanglement in our public school system. The system started out Catholic and Protestant and remains so in much of the country. Only Quebec has fully secularized its public school system.

Meanwhile, things seem to be going in the opposite direction in the United Kingdom.  Take a look at this article: Roman Catholic Church 'to take over secular schools'
The Roman Catholic Church is set to take over struggling secular schools under Government plans designed to raise standards in the state education system, it has emerged. 
...
It comes two years after the Church of England embarked on a similar path which has resulted in a number of secular schools adopting a faith “ethos” under Anglican control.
...
Andrew Copson, chief executive of the British Humanist Association, said: “We are alarmed that the Catholic Church is now seeking to extend its influence over the management of schools in a way never previously possible.”
 
Keith Porteous Wood, executive director of the National Secular Society, told the Times Educational Supplement: “Whenever you have a merger of amalgamation of a faith and non-faith school, everything always leans towards the faith.”
The Church seems very keen on giving secular schools a helping hand with educating the youth over there in England.

And don't even get me started about secular schools in the United States. You only need listen to the Freedom from Religion Foundation to understand how far things are from being truly secular in the public system down there.

Still, good news from the developing world... Maybe in a couple of decades they can help us out by opening truly secular schools in the US, UK and Canada.

3 comments:

  1. We've homeschooled since the beginning--the only time our boy has ever entered a public school was when he accompanied us while we voted in local and national elections. And this is a big part of "why." We lived in Utah, where the church IS the state, and there was no way we were throwing him into that. In addition, the school he would have attended was tossing out end-of-year test scores in the 22nd-29th percentile. We can do better than that feeding our kid a steady diet of Sesame Street and comic books.

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  2. GodlessPoutine28 June 2013 17:46

    I think Sesame Street and comic books are a good start actually! Maybe throw some Dr Who in there for good measure. :-)


    Thanks for commenting. I can only imagine what it must be like in Utah! Feel free to share in a guest post if you don't already have a blog yourself!

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