Jesus embedded in schools up north

Future looks bright for Queensland’s RI

Peace is breaking out between Queensland’s Education Minister Kate Jones and the over 5,000 volunteer Religious Instruction (RI) volunteer teachers in State schools.

The pro-RI group ranges from Catholic to Charismatic, Presbyterian to Pentecostal, includes voters for all parties and is headed by former Lutheran Bishop Noel Noack. At the meeting that formed the group, members from a non-Christian religion were also present. Eternity understands that other non-Christian religions also back the move.

“There was consensus to work together to ensure that best practice RI is delivered…” – Karen Grenning

“The Qld Christian Religious Instruction Network (QCRIN) was excited to be part of a significant meeting in Brisbane today,” QCRIN Spokesperson Karen Grenning told Eternity. “Representatives from all Christian denominations came together with leaders from local RI Networks from across the state.

“There was consensus to work together to ensure that best practice RI is delivered across Queensland. We are thankful for support from the Minister for Education Kate Jones and Education Queensland, as we work together to ensure minimum standards and benchmarks for training, accreditation, dispute resolution and curriculum.”

Controversy broke out during reviews into RI curricula. The reviews recommended only minor changes to the courses provided by the main providers.

But RI supporters pushed for a rewrite of the reviews because of uncertainty about the status of a suggestion within the reviews that playground evangelism be banned, including children talking about Jesus. The minister moved to quash the Christian’s fears.

“This is true inclusivity.” – Karen Grenning

At the meeting that brought the RI supporters, churches, volunteers, and other religions together, there was a high degree of confidence that lingering doubts can be resolved. These doubts centre on the latest rewrite of the RI review documents. These documents now have been clearly labelled as “Not Education Department Policy” and have dropped the ban on playground evangelism, but substituted it with a ban on “recruitment” into RI.

But the RI supporters believe that gentle negotiation with the State Government, rather than confrontation, will get what they want.

“It is a wonderful thing that parents continue to be given freedom of choice about RI in Queensland and that difference is catered for. This is true inclusivity,” Ms Grenning said.

Labor will continue to support the important place of RI in Queensland state schools

Queensland families are voting with their feet, with about 75% of families happily opting their children into RI (where it is on offer).

QCRIN is also thankful for the Minister’s commitment that Labor will continue to support the important place of RI in Queensland state schools. Ms Grenning stated that this will ensure they are “inclusive of all students, whether they have faith or no faith,  in our pluralist, multi-faith, multi-belief and multicultural society.”

The two largest Christian curricula in use in Queensland state schools, Connect (from the Sydney Anglican Youthworks) and GodSpace (Baptist in origin), already meet all of the recommendations from the Department’s reviews.

Fast work by providers in revising their courses, and the formation of a united front with professional support, has left Queensland’s RI in a stronger position than before.

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