by Dick Puddlecote
Minds Like A Sponge, So Get ‘Em Young After a few months respite, I was beginning to think that state educational silliness had been left behind now my two have left primary school. It has come thick and fast in the past couple of days, though.
If you follow on Twitter, you may have seen these tweets yesterday afternoon.
Then today I had this conversation with the boy.
DP: How was school?
Little P: We went to some temples.
Little P: Yes, we, err … oh never mind.
At this point, I think he must have noticed some of my heavy sighs in the past and was trying to save me the pain. Bless.
DP: No, carry on, you’ve started now.
Little P: Well, we went to a Jewish temple.
DP: You mean a synagogue.
Little P: Yes. The other half of the year went to a Sikh temple.
Little P: Then we all went to that mosque we see from the bus on the way to cricket.
DP: Great. So when are you going to look around a church?
Little P: I dunno.
DP: Are you doing a carol service in one, or anything?
Little P: Don’t be silly.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with learning about other religions – I remember having to put on a skull cap to tour a synagogue myself at school, albeit only for one lesson and not taking up the entire day – but shouldn’t it be in the context of making it implicitly clear that this country is predominantly Christian? Because this certainly doesn’t appear to be the case any more.
After the above exchange, I described my visit to the magnificent Muhammad Ali mosque in Cairo a few years ago. Perhaps mischievously, I asked if he knew which country Cairo was in. He didn’t. In fact, he knew little about any capital cities at all, which I would have thought should be high on the list of basics for state teaching. Apparently not, all the right-on shite above is obviously far more important.
After this evening though, they do both now understand the word ‘propaganda’ and how it differs from the word ‘education’, so there’s always a silver lining.