We can relate says the NSWJBD

July 19, 2009 by J-Wire
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The Jewish community has rejected a claim by a university sociologist that the rise of faith-based schools is restricting the ability of students to relate to people of diverse backgrounds.

University of Technology Sydney Professor Andrew Jakubowicz says while public schools have had a role in allowing students of broad backgrounds to “operate quite comfortably in different cultural environments”, the proliferation of ethno-religious schools … has had social consequences”.

It may undermine the key planks of social cohesion, he said – intercultural competence, secularism and interactive learning.

Rejecting the assertion, NSW Jewish Board of Deputies CEO Vic Alhadeff said: “Jewish values as taught and practised in Jewish schools are consistent with the values of Australian society. They include the principles of a fair go for all and respect for others – values which strengthen the students’ identities, both as Australians and as members of the Jewish faith.

”The opportunity to attend a school based on one’s faith is a core democratic right which must be protected.

“At the same time, the Jewish Board of Deputies brings together Christian, Muslim and Jewish students from public and faith-based schools in interactive programs which foster mutual respect and understanding.”

In recent years, increased public funding to non-government schools has led to a sharp rise in the number of students attending private schools. Today, almost 40 per cent of students in Australia are enrolled in faith-based schools, including those of the Irish Catholic tradition, Greek Orthodox, Jewish and Islamic schools.

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