Ethics education starting to take the place of religion courses in the classroom

STEP FORWARD: Molong Central School ethics co-ordinator Tom Lefebvre, speaking with volunteer Sara Stanley, said Bathurst Public School running ethics classes is a step in the right direction. 
Photo: LUKE SCHUYLER 0523lsethics1

STEP FORWARD: Molong Central School ethics co-ordinator Tom Lefebvre, speaking with volunteer Sara Stanley, said Bathurst Public School running ethics classes is a step in the right direction. Photo: LUKE SCHUYLER 0523lsethics1

BATHURST Public School is now offering ethics classes as an alternative to special religious education (SRE), which Molong Central School ethics co-ordinator Tom Lefebvre says is a small step in the right direction.

Mr Lefebvre has been lobbying for central west primary schools to offer ethics education for some time, and despite several delays, he now says the wheels are in motion.

“Hopefully this means things are happening for the entire region.”

Primary ethics has previously needed volunteers to go to Sydney for training, but  planning is underway to run training in Bathurst in July for all central west volunteers.

Mr Lefebvre said he has previously been unable to rally enough volunteers to have a training course held in the central west.

“You need at least 12 volunteers ready and willing, to be able to justify it,” he said.

“We have a new ethics co-ordinator for the area, which is good news. She is trained in training volunteers to teach these classes and she seems pretty keen to get things happening.

“One of the problems in the Cabonne area is that we have so many small schools. It [has been] tough for them to have enough kids not doing scripture to justify having someone trained.”

Mr Lefebvre said offering ethics education is necessary, as the current system leaves a substantial number children who do not partake in SRE virtually left to their own devices.

“I cant speak for other schools, but at Molong I would say 80 per cent of children do SRE,” he said.

“The other 20 per cent are basically left to colour in.”

The primary ethics curriculum is being developed on a stage-by-stage level with individual topics such as acting fairly, evaluating reasons, empathy and fatalism to be taught over several lessons.

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