Education Youth | December 16, 2015

Christmas carols off the curriculum

Students at Victorian Government schools will be stopped from learning or singing a wide selection of Christmas carols under new guidelines issued by the Melbourne Labor Government.

Nationals Member for Lowan, Emma Kealy said the restrictions are contained in a Fact Sheet sent out to school principals last month, but not made public.

“The fact sheet instructs principals on how they must implement the recently published Special Religious Instruction (SRI) guidelines under Ministerial Direction 145.

“Under these instructions principals have been told that students will not be able to participate in singing any ‘praise music’ that includes praise of a god or a religious figure, if the singing is organised by school volunteers.

“Schools will only be able to teach carols if it is done as part of a wide-ranging ‘general religious education’ curriculum that covers different religions in Australia and around the world.

“Principals will be required to ensure that children are not taught to sing carols such as Silent Night, Away in a Manger or We Three Kings, as these welcome the birth of Jesus Christ.

“I’ve been contacted by many people in the Lowan electorate asking me to support their requests for the Labor Government to reverse their decision to no longer deliver Special Religious Instruction (SRI) classes during classroom time,” Ms Kealy said.

Emma Kealy MP presented a petition with 480 local signatures in Parliament last month. The petition called on Daniel Andrews to reverse its broken promise that was made prior to the last state election, to allow students attending government schools to attend SRI during school hours.

“SRI is not a compulsory part of the government school education and is currently offered at the choice of parents. The Coalition supports parent choice as an important part of the Victorian government school system.

“As a nation we celebrate respect and welcome many different cultures from around the world but our traditions and beliefs as a predominantly Christian nation should not be compromised,” Ms Kealy said.

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