Equality in Education: Remove Religious Discrimination in Irish Schools.......... #EqualityInEducation

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Equality in Education: Remove Religious Discrimination in Irish Schools.......... #EqualityInEducation

This petition had 1,284 supporters


           Support Children's Right to Equality in Education

Education is fundamental to the healthy growth of a child - it forms part of the guidance that teaches children to think for themselves, understand the people around them, and ascend to new heights in order to benefit themselves, their loved ones, and their communities.

Each year, hundreds of parents are being blocked from access to schools simply because they refuse to baptise their children. Even parents living in particular catchment areas are being restricted from access to education as a result of their religious beliefs, forcing families to uproot themselves. Every child should have a basic right to education - yet the current system of laws denies them that right.

Despite the fact that Ireland identifies itself as a "modern" country, the United Nations repeatedly calls upon it to end the religious discrimination running rampant throughout publicly-funded schools. The government has been requested to "take all necessary measures" to bring relevant laws such as the Education Bill of 2015, and the Equal Status Act of 2001 forward, increasing the number of non-denominational schools at both primary, and post-primary levels.

When it came to enrolling my four-year-old daughter into education, I applied to 7 schools - all of which immediately placed us on the waiting list, because of their "Catholic first" policy. I approached no less than three authorities, including the Minister of Education, Archbishop of Ireland, and Minister of Justice, just to get the response that the matter would be looked into. The Archbishop’s Office offered me a solution:

                       "Why don't you baptise your child?"

The suggestion shocked my Hindu Irish family, and me. We suffered many sleepless nights, as we knew that almost 97% of Irish schools are still run by Catholic institutions. We even considered leaving the country in search of somewhere with less prejudice. Fortunately, my daughter was admitted into a school - although it is 6 km away.

I started this petition because I believe that no child should have to struggle for the right to an education simply due to Religious discrimination.

                                      Where You Can Help

Too many Irish schools operate according to a "Religion First" concept of enrolment, requiring a baptismal certificate as a condition for entry. As a result, young children are being turned away from schools every day -especially in urban areas where the locations are over-subscribed.

Although discrimination of this nature is prohibited by the Equal Status Act of 2000, an exemption is given to schools which provide education in an environment known for promoting particular religions. Section 7(3)(c) of the 2000 Act describes a school as non-discriminatory when it refuses to admit a child who doesn't belong to that school's denomination.

I believe that all kinds of discrimination in schools should be stopped - and parents shouldn't have to struggle to find an education for their child, or be forced to carry out "pragmatic baptisms" against their beliefs. Our system should be changed to protect:

Religious Freedom

Right to Education

Religious Equality

The ultimate goal of this petition is to achieve equality in education - by first obtaining the removal or amendment of section 7(3)(c) of the Act. If you agree with me, then please support this crucial cause by signing our petition. This petition will be forwarded to Minister for Education

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Roopesh Panicker needs your help with “Equality in Education: Remove Religious Discrimination in Irish Schools”. Join Roopesh and 1,283 supporters today.