By Kathryn Richardson
GOVERNMENT officials in Gibraltar have said they are considering offering an alternative subject to Religious Education after a six month campaign for reform.
The secretary of the Secular Humanist Society of Gibraltar, David Gibbins, has been calling for a change in policy to the rock’s compulsory teaching of religious education.
The policy currently dictates that although some students can opt out of the subject on grounds of conscience or religious beliefs, they are then unable to take another subject in its place, therefore essentially missing out on an extra GCSE.
Religious Education is currently taught as a core subject as part as the National Curriculum.
As a parent, Mr Gibbins opposed the regulation, saying it was unfair that children would lose a GCSE.
He said: “This would be a giant leap forward for education in Gibraltar and places us at the forefront of balanced teaching, with a fresh and enlightened approach to study that will benefit all students who wish to put religious doctrine in its rightful place – alongside mythology and legend.”
However, the government has said Religious Education will remain a core subject and has only accepted the option of an alternative in principle.
A spokesman said: “Religious Education has been, is at present and will continue to be one of the core subjects taught in our schools and there are no plans at all to change this.”
Mr Gibbins said he hopes a solution can be found and he appreciates the efforts made by the Department of Education.