60 per cent don’t want religion in school hours

THE majority of Queenslanders oppose religious instruction being taught during schools hours, an extraordinary survey has revealed, as pressure grows for the education provision to be reviewed.

The survey of 1007 Queenslanders also revealed that 87 per cent believe children who don't study religious instruction should be allowed to continue learning instead of reading or completing homework.

However, supporters of RI have labelled the survey an "ideological" attack.

Queensland Parents for Secular State Schools, which commissioned Dynata to conduct the research, says it's time for the State Government to "listen and act" on parents' wishes.

"We're not seeking to remove religion from state schools altogether but it needs to be presented in a way that is educational and respectful of all beliefs and taught by teachers from a department approved curriculum, just like they do in Victoria," QPSSS spokeswoman Alison Courtice said.

 

 

The survey results, which found 60 per cent of people opposed RI during school hours, comes amid a push from QPSSS for a parliamentary review of the century-old provision.

RI is offered at state schools on an opt-in basis for upwards of an hour each week.

Students who don't participate are not allowed to learn new parts of the curriculum, instead they complete their homework or read.

"They need to call a full review into RI for a complete overhaul which will take some time, but they can immediately move RI to lunch time like other optional programs or change policy to allow non-participants to continue with regular class work while RI is taking place," Ms Courtice said.

Alison Courtice and her daughter, Lauren, a Year 5 student at Windsor State School.
Alison Courtice and her daughter, Lauren, a Year 5 student at Windsor State School.

However, Multi-Faiths RI Peak Body spokesman David Baker said the survey was "simply another attack on religious instruction by a small group of self-confessed atheists with an ideological agenda".

"This so-called survey is worth nothing as it is easy for groups with agendas to ask questions in a way to get the answers they want," he said.

"The fact is that RI is widely supported by parents and school communities and where offered in Queensland primary schools, around 70 per cent of families choose to opt in."

Education Minister Grace Grace has repeatedly said there was no plan to review RI.