Australia bans Christian schools from teaching creationism

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Australia bans Christian schools from teaching creationism

The South Australian Non-Government Schools Registration Board has published a new education policy that states it requires the ''teaching of science as an empirical discipline, focusing on inquiry, hypothesis, investigation, experimentation, observation and evidential analysis.'' It then goes on to state that it "does not accept as satisfactory a science curriculum in a non-government school which is based on, espouses or reflects the literal interpretation of a religious text in its treatment of either creationism or intelligent design," reports Thaddeus M. Baklinski,

The policy effectively bans the teaching of creationism in South Australian Christian schools.

A spokesman for the South Australian Non-Government Schools Registration Board is quoted by the Sydney Morning Herald saying there is no ban on teaching creationism. "It can be taught in religious studies," said the spokesman.

However, Stephen O’Doherty, the chief executive of Christian Schools Australia, said that he believes the intention of the South Australian policy was to ban the teaching of the biblical perspective on the nature of the universe altogether. It was the only such subject singled out, he said.

O'Doherty said the statement by the South Australian Board was too strident, the Herald reports. "Taken literally," he said, "it means you cannot mention the Bible in science classes."

Christian school administrators are concerned that the South Australian board decision to stop the teaching of creationism as part of science lessons will precipitate similar action across the country.

O'Doherty said the policy sets a precedent which might be taken up in other states, including New South Wales, where the issue had been the subject of intense debate two years ago.

The NSW Board of Studies said in a statement last year that science teaching which was not "scientifically or evidence-based" would not be counted as part of the course requirements for a high school graduation diploma: the School Certificate or Higher School Certificate.

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[03/07/2010] Print Version

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