ASIA/SRI LANKA - Cardinal Ranjith: "The educational system penalizes religious education"

Tuesday, 3 July 2018 education   human rights   school   youth  

Colombo (Agenzia Fides) - "The leaders of this country should understand that this is something that needs to be changed from the very roots": this was stated by the Archbishop of Colombo, Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, expressing his concern about the current educational system in the country. The Cardinal noted the progressive marginalization or elimination of "good religious education", given that successive governments have driven the education system to a non-religious background.
The Cardinal revealed that he had made several requests to the Government and had written a letter to the President to report the inconvenience in the educational system which reflect on the future of the younger generation: in particular, the Church in Sri Lanka also stigmatizes the approval of the decree that makes Sunday school compulsory for students between 6 and 19 years of age of all religions. Christian students are obliged to participate, precondition for passing the exams. The Cardinal, interpreting the sentiments of the entire Church in Sri Lanka, explained that he had asked the government that Tuition classes are to be restricted on Sundays. And he concluded: "In this country our educational system has been destroyed".
The Catholic Church in Sri Lanka runs 1,155 Sunday schools, over 13,000 teachers and nearly 202,000 students in 12 dioceses across the country. The proposal is to recognize the teaching to students who attend the Catholic Sunday school in the public curriculum, so that their attendance to religious education is included in the state education system, resolving the conflict and encouraging children to attend Sunday schools.
The Sri Lankan Bishops Commission for Catechesis and Biblical Apostolate delivered a document to the Ministry of Christian Affairs presenting the project with all the necessary requirements, asking that the textbooks used in Sunday schools are to be printed at a national level in order to establish a common curriculum. (PA) (Agenzia Fides, 3/7/2018)