JOHANNESBURG – The Organisation for Religious Education and Democracy says it is not a school’s task to instruct pupils on how to be religious.
Today, the High Court in Johannesburg ruled that schools cannot promote one religion.
The case was brought by the OGOD organisation, arguing that there’s religious bias in South African public schools.
But trade union Solidarity – which represents the six schools the case was brought against – says that the Constitution allows public schools to identify with one religion and promote it.
The court says it offends the Schools Act to promote only one religion.
The organisation’s Hans Pietersen says they welcome this ruling.
“It is not the school’s task to instruct children how to be religious for the simple reason that state money on school infrastructure to promote religion, which in most cases would be Christianity. Those days are over. That was the old model that was buried in 1996.”
However, Solidarity’s Johan Kruger who opposed this application says this ruling will still allow religious observances.
“It is declared that it offends the Schools Act for a public school to promote that it, as a public school, to only adheres to one religion or predominantly only one, to the exclusion of others. It is certainly in our view that at this stage, in practice, that a governing body can decide what the ethos of the school is.”