Tuesday, February 03, 2009

GCSE in political correctness

Briefing. More and more education is about closing children's minds, not opening them: giving them the one right answer and telling them that anyone who disagrees should not be listened to. GCSE have become notorious but this has invaded A-levels as well.

If nothing else, this should give hope to home-schoolers: having your children play with Lego all day would be far preferable to this rubbish.

From CFNews: Pupils taking a new religious studies GCSE will answer questions about homosexuality, conservation, binge drinking and drugs in sport. Instead of concentrating on the Bible and the holy books and tenets of other religions, a large part of the course is tied to citizenship and personal, social and health education.

Academics said last night that the syllabus, to be taught from September, had turned a serious subject into a 'pat qualification for political correctness'.

One of the topics covered is 'religion and relationships', which will teach pupils about homosexuality, religious attitudes to contraception and the role of parenting.

Another topic is 'religion, sport and leisure'. Pupils will study 'religious attitudes towards the purpose, use and importance of leisure; types and purposes of relaxation, e.g stress relief, and the misuse of leisure time, e.g binge drinking.'

In a sample exam paper pupils are asked, under the heading religion and planet earth, 'what is conservation?' and 'is recycling good stewardship?'. Teenagers must also give two reasons why many religious believers oppose deforestation.

A second paper asks candidates to name two illegal drugs, give three reasons why people take illegal drugs and explain the attitudes of religious believers to smoking tobacco.

The syllabus, one of a number offered by the exam hoard the Assessment and Qualifications Alliance (AQA), is expected to be popular with schools. But Prof Alan Smithers. the director of the centre for education and employment training at Buckingham University. Said it was a blatant example of the 'politicisation of education'.

'This does not seem to be about religion and spirituality at all. There are just a lot of tenuous connections which teach the preferred attitudes and beliefs of the moment,' he said.

'I think it comes from the desire of politicians to stamp their influence on everything. It looks as if they are turning RE into a pat qualification for political correctness. How is it to benefit the students?

'It is not going to be a basis for the further study of RE or spirituality to a higher level. All it can do is clock up league table points for the school and keep young people occupied. One has to ask, where is the religion?'

Prof Smithers said the changes reflected those already made in the core subject of science, where scientific knowledge was replaced with the discussion of topical science-related questions.

Students can choose four of six units to study for the qualification, which means they can avoid more traditional material covered in the 'worship and key beliefs' and 'religious philosophy' modules.

AQA said only one of the units was designed to enable religious studies to link with citizenship and personal, social and health education.

'It will contribute actively to pupils' spiritual, moral, social and cultural development and the Every Child Matters agenda,' it said. [Sunday Telegraph]

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Our faith isn't about closing minds, but I believe we have the BEST and only answers to all these issues, and that people who disagree (on issues like contraception, homosexuality, euthanasia, the family, etc.) are wrong, and should not be listened to, and rightly so.

We're the only church with highly coherent, philosophically reasoned, and theologically sound teaching on these matters. In the protestant churches in the UK - whatever flavour - morality is just a religious form of relativism to them, based on 'holy books' (the 'bible-believing' sort) and 'spirituality' (a crypto-new-age kind), for there's little, if no doctrine.

If the exam includes 'religion and relationships', then the Personalism taught by both our current Holy Father and his predecessor, are second to none, as are our teachings on the family, parenting, sexual ethics, etc., aren't they?

Well, I'd give the sport a miss, but leisure? Josef Pieper's book on the subject is truly amazing. In fact, I'd say that it's about time these subjects were integrated into religious education, just to show kids how relevant REAL religious education (an integrated catechesis) is to life!

For me, the real problem is, that all our Catholic answers - which have stood the test of time, and are true - would never be accepted as valid in the exam, and so how ever well argued by any student, however brilliant (even Apolonio Latar III!), answering those questions using our answers would fail the exam because they're not the right answers 'they' want to hear: the politically correct ones.
That is, they'd claim balance and unbiased marking, based in 'reason', but it'd be judged by relativistic standards, and ours accused of 'dogma' (as if there's isn't!).

So, the exam isn't wrong, it's the government's own extreme prejudice and ideological biases built into the exam which will be seen as the only correct answers to these questions, and which will be the real problem.

Pope Leo XIII's Prayer to St Michael

Holy Michael, Archangel, defend us in the day of battle. Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, thrust down to Hell Satan, and all wicked spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen