Special religious education celebrated in bi-partisan NSW parliament event

December 12, 2018 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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Special religious education (SRE) in New South Wales is celebrating a resurgence in support and recognition after a successful event in parliament house endorsed by both the Government and the Opposition.

Photo includes Suzanne Rutland [c] and Rabbi Dr Dovid Slavin [r]

The event was the release of a ground-breaking independent report into special religious education (SRE) in NSW schools which finds that SRE brings important psychological benefits to students’ mental health and wellbeing and reduces the risk of mental illness.

Report authors Professor Zehavit Gross, the UNESCO/ Burg Chair in Education for Human Values, Tolerance and Peace, Bar-Ilan University, Israel and Professor Emerita Suzanne D. Rutland spoke at the event witnessed by both education minister Rob Stokes and shadow education minister Jihad Dib.

It was also a momentous occasion because in 2018 SRE is supported by all faiths, both the Government and Opposition and the department of education, for the betterment of young children and teenagers.

Education Minister Rob Stokes thanked all who provide SRE in state schools. “Isn’t it wonderful that SRE offers us some concrete truths that we can teach our young people …. They need instruction not just in academic pursuits, not just in sporting pursuits but also in emotional and spiritual well-being. That’s the totality of what it is to be human. And what we are celebrating tonight is our shared humanity and what a wonderful thing to celebrate together.”

As a further reflection of the bipartisan nature of the event, the minister also thanked his opposition colleague and education spokesman Jihad Dib and all his parliamentary colleagues.

“There are so many of us here because we want to demonstrate our support for the common cause of celebrating your efforts in our schools, celebrating the role special religious education has played in our state’s public schools ever since 1848 – that’s 170 years this year.”

Member for Lakemba and opposition education spokesman Jihad Dib spoke of the multicultural society that we share in Australia today and how all faiths helped shape him.

“I grew up in a classroom where I had people of so many different faiths that they actually made me a better person. They made me understand their perspective.”

All speakers recognised the many contributors to the success of SRE today in NSW schools and many were officially recognised at the conclusion with awards for their excellent service.

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