Hindus meet Shadow Education Minister for SRE and GRE

By: Surinder Jain.

Hindu Council of Australia and other faith SRE providers met with Prue Car, Member of the NSW Legislative Assembly, Member for Londonderry, Deputy Leader of the Opposition, Shadow Minister for Education, and Shadow Minister for Early Childhood Learning (Australian Labor Party) on 24th May 2022. We held a positive meeting with her regarding SRE being included in the digital enrolment process , GRE, religious identity, and programs to counter religious bullying.

Hindu Council of Australia thanks Prue Car for her time to engage with us and for her commitment to SRE, GRE and other issues raised by us. We are looking for bi-partisan support for religious education, identity and bullying issues. She is especially supportive of Hindu education of Swastika in schools and contents to reflect Hindu experience in Australia.

Following issues were raised/discussed :

– We want to make sure that there is a religious identity question on both the digital and paper enrolment form. It allows faith communities to better plan allocation of SRE teachers. Knowing where the pockets of particular faith groups are (through the religious identity question) help the religious leaders to ensure they are putting resources in the right place.

– The current digital form that is live doesn’t have an SRE/SEE component, so parents are also having to fill this element out on paper. The experience of many teachers in schools is that the form is not always returned.

– Look at programs where faith communities can partner with the Government on wellbeing, leadership, connection etc. – so that faith groups can maximize use of their resources to benefit their communities.

– At least one syllabus dot point for General Religious Education (GRE) in at least one Key Learning Area (KLA) each Year within the curriculum. Faith groups would like to be consulted about the material to ensure it is up-to-date, accurate and appropriate for the Australian context. Hindus would like a chapter on Swastika and contents to reflect Hindu experience in Australia.

– A National Centre of Excellence for Religious Education to help ensure best practice and minimum standards across religious education in Government schools.

– Professional development and training for Principals, teachers and students regarding religious vilification and bullying.