Is the Catholic Religious Certificate Discriminatory?

Join me as I tackle a question that I feel we should be asking more often: Is the Catholic Certificate in Religious Education discriminatory? Following on from Peter Maguire’s excellent article on the subject, I dive into all sides of the debate, chatting about the contents of the certificate, the challenges it poses for non-Catholics, and the arguments for and against its requirement. Strap in for an honest, no-holds-barred conversation (with an alien) that’ll hopefully make you rethink the education system and what I would do if I Were the Minister for Education.

Show notes, as always, on


Hello, you're welcome to If I Were the Minister for Education from Anseo. net Is it discrimination to ask for the Catholic Certificate in Religious Education? Peter Maguire wrote an article in the Irish Times on the 31st of October this year, 2023, titled Only Catholics Need Apply, where he asked if the requirement of a certificate in Catholic Religious Education was stopping people from becoming teachers. Despite interviewing a number of people affected, including myself, none of us could come up with an answer. How can you possibly discriminate against someone who doesn't fill in the application form? In this episode, I'll be exploring whether it is discrimination to ask for a Catholic certificate in religious education if you want to work in a primary school, and what I would do If I were the Minister for Education. Hello, hello. You're welcome to If I were the Minister for Education from Anseo. net, a regular podcast where I take an aspect of the Irish primary education system and I tell you what I might do if I were the Minister for Education. This is Simon Lewis. You're very welcome to this episode where I'm talking about the Catholic Certificate in Religious Education, something that if you went to an Irish teacher training college, you're probably very familiar with. Although it is an optional certificate to do, it is the key to working in over 90 percent of primary schools in the country, because if you are applying for a job, it was something that will be looked for. However, Is it discriminatory to ask for it? I guess if you work in a catholic school some might argue that it's important for you to be able to be qualified to teach the religious education program and some people might say it is discriminatory because over 90 percent of schools are of a catholic ethos so therefore it's put in as a barrier to stop people from working in it. But You probably wouldn't be surprised to hear what I would think on it, so rather than listening to me, I decided I'd ask a fairly neutral source of information about whether a religious certificate in a particular faith is discriminatory, because of course, for those of you who are listening you might be shouting at me already saying, it's not just the Catholics. Why are you always going on about the Catholics? Yes you're absolutely correct. If you work in a Church of Ireland school or you want to work in a Church of Ireland school, I'm not sure if there's a certificate in it now, to be honest with you, but you are there is a kind of a question about upholding the ethos and making sure that you're ready to be a teacher in a Church of Ireland school. And I would imagine it's similar in a Muslim school. But then again, I don't know and certainly in a Jewish school, I can, I don't know again either if there's a certificate of, I doubt it because I don't think there are any Jewish teachers at the moment in the system. So it would be very difficult to figure that one out. But I imagine there's some sort of training or some sort of meeting or something like that or some sort of course. And then if you're still shouting at me saying, Well, what about you, Educate Together Schools and all these other community national schools? You have things. Right now at the moment, yes, there is a summer course that people can do or for to become, or they can do a qualification in college to learn about the ethical education program that Educate Together Schools run. But at the moment, that is not a requirement to teach in an Educate Together school. I'm not quite sure what the community national schools are doing. Personally, I am against the idea of compulsory certificates in ethos, because essentially what I see or what I feel is it's exclusionary on the basis. Of religion or ethos, I think if you want to work in a particular school, that shouldn't be the barrier. If you're a qualified teacher, you should be able to teach in any primary school. But I mean, I suppose we're, we're, we're going a little bit off topic for the moment. Although we probably aren't going off topic for the moment. In fact, the weird thing about this Religious Certificate in Education or, or it's, or it's equivalents is that it is being used to, in some ways I would argue, is being used to prevent people from teaching in these schools. And in a bigger picture, is preventing people from going into teaching at all. Because if you know that you have a nine out of ten chance of teaching in a Catholic school. Therefore, it would seem sensible to do the certificate in religious education in Catholic, in the Catholic education because you've 90 percent of a chance of working in one of those schools. And but what if you aren't Catholic. And you have to do this certificate because, you know, the content of that certificate could be well, it could go against your conscience. It certainly would go against mine my freedom of conscience, my freedom of religion and all the rest of it. So absolutely it is a problem. As I said, let's get a neutral voice in this. So rather than me telling you. And it's insisting that this religious certificate in a particular faith is discriminatory. I said I'd ask a non biased source. And short of finding an alien, because that who maybe just landed on Earth, I found the next best thing. And you might not be surprised here, given how much I'm going on about artificial intelligence. It's ChatGPT. And before I put any ideas Into its head. And because you can do that with chat GPT, you can train it to be a certain way. You can say Hello chat, GPT, or whatever it is. You are a, you know, helpful assistant that has this particular thoughts on a particular thing. I just thought it might be a good idea to, the first question to ask chat, GPT, who is a neutral observer in the world? What is the certificate? What does it consist of? And. This is what it offered. The Certificate in Catholic Religious Education, CCRE, it has an acronym, is a qualification that many teachers in Ireland acquire if they want to teach in Catholic primary schools, which form a significant portion of the schools in Ireland. Here's a summary of what's typically involved. So straight away, CHAT GPT knows that if you want to work in an Irish primary school, you need it. And they also make the point that it forms a significant portion of schools in Ireland. Interesting. So here's actually what it is. For those of you who don't know, who haven't done the certificate, because I think a lot of people listening to saying, ah, it's only a little certificate or whatever. Who cares? You know, it's only a small thing, but this is what it contains. Number one. Theoretical foundations. So this delves into the core tenets of Catholic theology, scripture, liturgy, and church history. It provides educators with a foundational understanding of the Catholic faith. So, That's pretty straightforward. I don't think there's any problems with theology as long as it's not indoctrinating, let's say, and forcing you to become a member of that faith. So, number two is pedagogy of religious education. So this component equips teachers with effective methods to communicate and impart the Catholic faith to young students, adapting to their cognitive and emotional development levels. Now that's where I've had my first problem. It equips teachers with effective methods to communicate. impart the Catholic faith. So the job of the teacher is to impart the Catholic faith. Some people say they're just inviting the children in. Some people will argue, Oh, no, no, there should, there are only a few little prayers. Everyone's just being nice. No, no. The job of a teacher is to impart the Catholic faith to young students. So there's an issue there and to do that certificate, that's what you're being trained to do. Number three, spiritual and personal development. Here, participants often engage in retreats, spiritual readings, and other activities that deepen their personal relationship with God and understanding of the Catholic faith. So again, we're getting into not just education, we're getting into faith formation. We're getting into the, I know people don't like the word indoctrination, but it is exactly what it is. So in fact, like the teachers who were taking on this course are being encouraged to deepen their Catholic faith. They're not not just their own faith, or if they have one, but they're actually encouraged for their own spiritual and personal development, which is Absolutely outrageous to me, but, you know, again, it's just there. That's what it says. Number four, school and parish link. This emphasizes the close relationship between the Catholic school and the local parish. Teachers are trained to foster this link and to ensure that their teaching is in line with the practices and beliefs of the local parish community. So again, what we're doing here, we're saying, Seeing that there is a close relationship between the school and the church. Now again, this is something that people deny and they say, Oh no, there's no link here and barely ever see the priest and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. But the thing is, when you are doing this course, you are taught that this is what's supposed to happen. You know, so an interesting kind of thing. Number five, practical experience. Participants usually have to teach or assist in religious classes, often under the guidance of supervision of a mentor. This gives them hands on experience of teaching in Catholic religious education, which obviously makes sense if you are going to be teaching Catholic education. And then six assessment, depending on the program, there may be written examinations, coursework, practical assessments, or a combination of these to evaluate the participants understanding and capabilities. It's important to understand that this certificate emphasizes the Catholic ethos, this is still Jack GBT, and its integration into the broader curriculum and school culture. In Ireland, since the vast majority of primary schools have historically been under Catholic patronage, the CCRE has been seen as an essential qualification for many teaching roles. Now, I don't think anyone would argue with any of the above. That's just ChatGPT saying what it is. I decided to ask something I'm interested in, and that's whether one is required to study Catholic scriptures as part of the course. Because I can't find it on the actual site. You know, it's very interesting, I think, on the actual websites of these things. They don't really tell you very, very much. It's as if, I don't know if they're, they're not, clearly they're not embarrassed or anything like that, but it's like they don't want to. overtly say what they're doing. But you can see really from those first, those six points, you know, how there is faith formation happening in these in this, in this course, not just for training you to be faith formers or to be missionaries or whatever the word is, but they're trying, and part of the course is to make you look at your own Catholic faith, even if you don't have one. And that's kind of, That's kind of, I find that outrageous, I really do. But I wanted to find out, because this didn't go a bit deeper enough, but I just wanted to find out, do you actually have to study Catholic scriptures? As part of this and the answer was yes, the study of scriptures is typically a key component of the Certificate in Catholic Religious Education. Understanding the Bible, both the Old and New Testaments, is foundational to Catholic Religious Education. And it goes into that, and to be honest with you, I'm not going to read the whole thing but it but it goes in about how important it is. to explore key events in the Old Testament and the New Testament, how to interpret that that aligns with Catholic teaching. So it ensures that they relay biblical stories and teachings to their students who have to faith form here again and do it in a manner that's consistent with the church's understanding. Again, all this is on the show notes. So you can have a look at these yourself. I'm just really. It's long, so I don't want to get, get far too in it. And then the key thing for me is the integration to the curriculum, because a lot of people basically say, Ah, sure, look, you know, they cannot doubt you. The kids cannot doubt. But the thing is. This is the, this is the nonsense, and I don't know how I don't, I don't know how it survived so long, because it's, it's, it's all there in black and white. And it's in, in the rules of, of, of primary schools, Rule 68, I, I, I, is still alive and well in Catholic schools. It says, scriptures are not just taught as standalone lessons, but they're integrated. into the broader curriculum. This means participants learn to weave their spiritual teachings and values into other subjects in everyday classroom activities. And given the centrality of the Bible to Catholic faith and teachings, it's essential for teachers in Catholic schools to have a robust understanding of it. This enables them to pass on the faith to their students. I don't know, folks. All these people who say, Oh no, it's only a few, a few bits and bobs, it's nothing. It's there, and I'm, I'm asking a non biased source here. ChatGPT isn't anti religion at all, in any way, shape, or form. It just tells you the information as it is, from from from basically sources all over the web. And it's not actually criticising it, it's just saying what it is. So, despite, so far, I haven't asked a single loaded question. ChatGPT has confirmed that the purpose of the certificate is to enable teachers to pass on the faith to their students And some will say that one doesn't have to believe in it to pass it on. That's something I've heard actually, you know I've just thought of that there. But it just doesn't make sense If you have to pass something on to somebody you kind of have to agree with it in some capacity For example, if I'm teaching maths and I'm teaching 2 plus 2 is 4 I just pass on that information as a fact. I tell the children unequivocally that 2 plus 2 is equal to 4, and if I didn't believe that 2 plus 2 was equal to 4, I would teach the children that many people believe that 2 plus 2 is equal to 4. If I was a teacher in a Catholic school and I said that many people believe that Jesus Christ wasn't the greatest guy in history and their opinion was equally valid, I would be fired under section 37 of the Employment Equality Act for undermining the ethos. What I have to do as a teacher. in a Catholic school is I have to believe that Jesus Christ is the Messiah and is the greatest guy in history. And as much as I believe that 2 plus 2 equals 4. To be honest, After doing that, I could end the podcast here, and say there's no need to go on, because, essentially, it's there, black and white. The purpose of this Catholic certificate in education is to make sure that a teacher is able to pass on the Catholic faith to their students. But, we're knee deep now, so we may as well dive in further. So, ChatGPT, what issues would an atheist, or a Jew, have with doing this course? That was the next question. And ChatGPT didn't hesitate. The Certificate in Catholic Religious Education, CCRE, is inherently rooted in the teachings and traditions of the Catholic Church. For individuals who come from other religious backgrounds or hold secular beliefs, there could be several issues or challenges they might face while pursuing this course. Number one, and a Divided actually nicely into atheist Jews and Muslims. So doctrinal differences. So the atheists. Atheists don't believe in the existence of deities. Engaging with a curriculum that not only affirms the existence of God, but also centers around their specific religious doctrines and beliefs could be fundamentally at odds with their personal views. A Jew? While Jews and Catholics share the Old Testament scriptures, they have divergent interpretations and beliefs about them. The New Testament, which is fundamental to Catholicism, is not recognized. in Judaism. And in Islam, Muslims believe in the Abrahamic traditions, recognizing figures like Abraham, Moses and Jesus. However, they have significant theological differences with Catholicism, particularly concerning the nature of Jesus and the concept of the Trinity. So you can see very quickly that that's three examples of beliefs that are, that counter what Catholicism do. It's not a harmless entity. Just because 99 percent or 95 percent of teachers, primary school teachers in Ireland don't find Catholicism you know, in any way offensive, it doesn't mean that other faiths and none don't find these. difficult to manage. Even if you are someone who's maybe a lapse Catholic a lot of it isn't alien to you so you maybe not take it seriously but you don't generally don't find it offensive or you sort of in some ways and I remember I did this myself when I started teaching I was in a Catholic school you kind of take on the role of the actor and you see the stuff as kind of stories and harmless and all the rest of it but you kind of have to think of people who aren't You know, sort of, the a la carte, or, you know, about religion, or anything like that. They take bits and pieces. They actually believe in their faith, or they believe in the, or they actually have personal difficulties with with a particular faith as well. So, there are problems, and you can see that already from point number one. Point number two from ChatGPT, they said pedagogical challenges. Teaching from a Catholic perspective might feel inauthentic, and that's a very kind word I would say, or challenging for someone who doesn't personally believe in or align with his teaching. So, I mean, I have personal experience of that. I found it really challenging teaching in a Catholic school. I was, I mean, I was really good at it because I, and I've told this story before, that I was so good at it in my first year, I was given a sacrament class in my second year and I found it really hard. I found it really, really hard to be that inauthentic. And I didn't, I didn't know a lot of what I was doing. I, I got some help I suppose from my partner teacher. I was lucky to have that. But I had no idea. I found it really, really difficult. And I found it. I just, I did find it a little bit offensive, to be honest with you. But, look that's fair enough with ChatGPT. Number three, a spiritual and personal development. A significant aspect of the CCRE is a personal spiritual growth within the Catholic tradition, and this could be uncomfortable or irrelevant by those from different religious or secular backgrounds. This is the thing. You have to have personal spiritual growth in Catholicism if you're doing the certificate. That must be really difficult. I mean, for people, again, who are laissez faire about religion, you can kind of pretend and you laugh along with the rest of the a la carte Catholics. But for someone, like, can you imagine? You know, and most people will think of a Muslim because there are some Muslim teachers coming into the Irish primary system. And if they're doing, I mean, I imagine. If any of them do the Catholic certificate, and let's say they're practicing Muslims, you know, I'm not saying all Muslims are more devout than Catholics or anything like that, but let's say it's more likely that, you know, first, second and third generation Muslims are probably more devout than, let's say, you know, twenty fifth generation Catholics or something like that, it's you It must be really uncomfortable. I, I would find it very uncomfortable. In fact, I'm glad I, I know I didn't do this certificate, but I think if I had have, I may have had to drop out of college. I would have found it really, really difficult. I don't know. Hindsight, I suppose, is, is 20, 20 vision is 20 years ago. I, you know. When that opportunity came along. Anyway, number five. Moral and ethical stances. The Catholic Church has specific positions on moral and ethical issues, e. g. abortion, LGBTQ plus rights, contraception. Those from different backgrounds might disagree with some of these positions based on their personal and cultural beliefs. That's. Pretty much fair enough. I would you know, I think not much more to say on that. Number six, they've said, they have a few points on this one, experience of exclusion or misunderstanding. Participants from non Catholic backgrounds might occasionally feel left out or misunderstood, especially if the course assumes a shared Catholic background among attendees, which it does. And that's the thing. It does assume that everybody there. Wants to be there, is Catholic, or understands Catholicism, and I like the word there Misunderstood, because I think that's something that I experience when I'm talking about this all the time. People say to me They don't understand why I go on about this all the time. Like it doesn't affect you. Why are you going on about this? You know, it's not that bad. We're very inclusive in our school. They don't understand and that's fair enough. Why would you understand if everybody else around you thinks everything's okay? So I thought that was an interesting point. And then number seven, personal reconciliation. Engaging deeply with Catholic teachings might bring up personal challenges for some as they reconcile their course content with their own beliefs. This could be an introspective journey leading to a deepened understanding of one's own beliefs or in some cases internal conflict. I'm not sure I I don't know, that's a, I think that's a push, but look, that's a, I'm sure that may be a case for some people, maybe not me. These are all individual issues for individual people, but many of them will resonate. I'm sure maybe some of those resonated with you if you did the Catholic Certificate in Education. And I may say this again, but I spoke to somebody who was involved in one of the college, teacher training colleges where the certificate is offered and in the 10 years that they had been there they said that only four people in 10 years had refused to do that certificate, which says a couple of things. Number one might say that we have a problem with diversity if people aren't refusing to do it and it doesn't seem to be a big problem for people or number two, that people are, Somehow, pragmatically doing it and just getting through it. I'm pretty sure the former, rather than the latter, is more true. Anyway, I guess the final question was simply to bite the bullet and ask whether the practice of insisting on that certificate was discriminatory. ChatGPT does everything it can to be balanced, and, to be fair, it did give both sides. So, I'm going to read what ChatGPT said. It's, it's, it's long enough. Question of whether insisting on having the Catholic certificate in religious education for teaching positions is discriminatory. So this is whether it's discriminatory or not. It's nuanced, they said. And here is a balanced analysis. They're even telling you they're being balanced. Arguments suggesting it is discriminatory. One. It's a barrier to employment. If the majority of schools in a region, e. g. Ireland, require their certificate for teaching positions, then individuals who don't have it, especially those who aren't Catholic, who don't want to undergo Catholic religious education, may face significant barriers to employment. I mean, that's a bit of a, you could say, duh, at the end of that, but it's true. This is it. If you don't do that certificate, you are automatically not going to be able to work. in 90 percent of schools. 2. Potential bias against non Catholics. By insisting on the CCRE, schools might be implicitly, or explicitly, favouring Catholic applicants over others, limiting the opportunities for non Catholics or those who don't have their certificate. Which, again, is fair enough. 3. Lack of religious neutrality. Insisting on a certificate that aligns with the teachings of one specific religion in public or state funded schools may be seen as a lack of religious neutrality, potentially leading to feelings of exclusion among those of other faiths or none. Now, the one thing I disagree with in this sentence is the may be seen as a lack of religious neutrality. It is a lack of religious neutrality. Four, homogeneity. If all teachers are required to have a CCRC, it might lead to a homogenous teaching environment in terms of religious beliefs, which could limit diverse perspectives into an educational setting. And I think we just need to look at our staff rooms to see that is entirely the case. And in fact, we just need to look at the 2019 study from the NUIG, where it seems that 99. 7 percent of teachers in Ireland identify as white. Irish, 95 percent identify as Catholic, and I think it was 4 or so percent identified as Church of Ireland or some sort of Christian. So, yes, homogeneity is a problem. So then they move on to how it isn't discriminatory. So one, it's a specialized role. The primary purpose of the CCRE is to equip teachers to effectively teach Catholic religious education. If a school's curriculum includes Catholic teachings, it's reasonable for them to want teachers who are trained in that specific area. And you couldn't argue with that because that is true. But these are not private Catholic schools. These are state schools. I know there's a sort of private public partnership kind of involved, but when 90 percent of your schools are this are insist on this. I, I think you have a problem there. Anyway, I shouldn't be interjecting here. I wasn't as interjectory in the, in the previous section. Number two, freedom of religious institutions. Religious schools argue they should have the freedom to uphold and pass on their traditions. If a school's mission is to provide a Catholic education, requiring teachers to be familiar with Catholic teachings might be seen as essential to fulfilling that mission. Three. Voluntary participation. Schools that insist on the CCRE typically have a Catholic ethos. Teachers who apply to these institutions are generally aware of this requirement. If they choose to apply, they're opting into an environment with known expectations. Now that is fair. It feels unfair because 90 percent of schools are Catholic. So you kinda, you're sorta saying, Well, if you wanna work in an Irish primary school, you gotta go with them. You, you, you know what you're getting yourself in. So why become a teacher? You know, why if you, if you already know this. So it's essentially what you're kind of saying there is if you wanna become a teacher in Ireland, you need to be Catholic. You know? Which, which in some ways is the way I, I suppose it's essentially how you, how you kind of have to square that off. Yes. You might know, but you know, do you have to be Catholic to be a primary school teacher anywhere else in the world? I, I don't think that's the case. So I think. It's, it's a, it's a, it's an argument which I suppose would answer my question. Actually, I would, I'd flip that and say actually it's not voluntary really in Ireland particularly. Although it technically is. But if you want to work in Ireland you probably do need it. Now you, someone might say to me, shout at me now and say but you don't have it Simon. And you're absolutely right, I didn't do it, but it wasn't a requirement when I qualified, it's only become a requirement since I qualified so, and that's an interesting thing as well, that it's become compulsory quite, quite recently, so, that's interesting as a point, and then number four Alternative opportunities. While many Catholic schools might require the CCRE, there are also schools that don't. In places with a diversified educational system, teachers have other options where the CCRE is not a prerequisite. I would argue that those diverse educational places exist not in Ireland. Anyway, it goes on to say, on balance. The insistence on the CCRC could be viewed as discriminatory, especially in areas where a large percentage of schools are required, thereby limiting employment or opportunities for those without the certificate. Now, I'm going to interject here and say That would be basically all of Ireland and maybe, you know, Dublin 6, I think is the most diverse place in Ireland in terms of school. I think it's something like 60, 66 percent of schools are Catholic in Dublin 6. I think it's the best, or is it Lucan might be actually a bit is, is, is, has a better you know, isn't, is, is more diverse, but that's it. Everywhere else in Ireland has at least 80 to 90 percent or more schools under a Catholic ethos. And if you increase that Christian ethos, you could be up to 90, you could be up to 100 percent of schools in certain counties like Leitrim, Longford and a couple of other places. So, you know, It's interesting. So it could be viewed, I would say, is discriminatory. So, so far, I would say that's chatGPT being balanced in inverted commas. Anyway, it becomes particularly contentious if state funded schools insist on it, which they do, as this might be seen as a lack of state neutrality in religious matters, which it is. However, from the perspective of preserving the religious ethos of Catholic institutions, the requirement makes sense. It ensures that teachers are well equipped to deliver the specific religious curriculum in the school offers. That also makes sense, and it would make sense if we had private Catholic schools. for those who, who need them. The debate hinges on the tension between individuals rights, in this case, the right to employment without religious prequisites, and the rights of religious institutions to maintain their identity. The answer might be, might vary based on societal context, legal frameworks, and personal perspectives. Now, I imagine my conclusion will be different. to those who are happy with the status quo. I know there are many in the status quo who won't disagree with CHAT GPT either, and they will loudly exalt that it is wrong that there are so many Catholic schools, and then promptly do absolutely nothing to counter that problem, which to me says more about everything. Anyway, I cannot count the number of people that tell me, and I understand why they do this where they say, I would love to say something, but however, any analysis of the closest we'll get to an alien's interpretation of our education system would suggest that the insistence of a certificate in Catholic religious education is problematic at best. Obviously, my view is that it is absolutely discriminatory. I, I mean, I can't think anyone listening to this would think that it's anything but discriminatory. You know, I, I think sometimes when something's Outlined by a neutral observer, you know, it's very hard to interpret in a different way. But if you have, I'd love to hear from you. I mean, please, please you know, reply to when I put this up on X or Twitter or X. I suppose now I have to call it reply where you, where you listen to this and kind of think, let me know what you think. Is it discriminatory or not? And then I suppose, you know, I, I kind of I suppose, what do we do then? What, what do we do if we, if we accept discriminatory? Do we do something about it or do we just kind of pretend and keep playing along with the, with the system as it stands? I'm, I'm, I mean, I know what I would do. We, we obviously need to do something about it because we are going to become a more diverse profession whether we like it or not. We are already have really diverse classrooms. We already have some schools in the country and six counties in Ireland have Classrooms where more than 50 percent of the children are opted out of religion in these classes. It's it makes sense Also, the the census figures at the moment only 53 percent of 29 or 25 to 29 year olds identify as Catholic So we're you know, these are the people who are going to be hopefully I presume are going to be raising their children Not in the Catholic tradition, so that's going to be kind of difficult as well. Like, we can't just do nothing, is what I'd be saying. So, that comes down to the question of what would I would do if I were the Minister for Education? And, I think it's pretty obvious that if I were the Minister for Education, number one, I would be removing the requirement for any certificate in. Ethical education, religious education, is a requirement to teach in those schools. And number two, obviously, in the bigger picture, I would be removing that religious or secular indoctrination. So both of these things. So when I say indoctrination, I mean that you say that something is a fact and you do not talk about other faiths or other beliefs. So I suppose I should explain this a little bit before I, before I finish because people say to me, I mean, you just want a secular education system. I don't. I want a secular education system, particularly in my understanding of the word secular education, because again, that's a gray area. I don't believe it is okay to have a system where you don't mention religion at all, or you don't teach about religions at all. I think we all live in a world where the majority of people have a faith, and it's important for us to understand why people do what they do, the rituals that they do, and what we all have in common. anD you can't do that in a secular education system similar to, let's say, the French system where, you know, Muslim people can't wear their hijabs, Christians can't wear crucifixes, and things like that. That is not an inclusive education system either, in the same way as a Catholic school insisting that you only teach about Catholicism, or you teach that Catholicism is the truth is not okay either. What I see As the if I were the minister for education is a system where everybody goes to their local school and their values and their faith or lack of faith or whatever, or their beliefs are as important as each other's. And we learn about each other and we learn from each other. And for me, that's how we get a system working and we stop putting in boundaries. Barriers and obstacles for to ensure that everybody in a school is welcome. And so they're my two cents worth. I'd love to hear what you think. Thanks for listening and we'll catch you again. So there you have it. I hope you enjoyed that episode and if you have any comments, please be sure to go on to our social media channels, Simon M Lewis, or you can go to the blog where you'll find the show notes. That's simonmlewis. Medium. com or you can go to to tune into this and any other episode. If you're interested in subscribing to the podcast, please do on or on your favorite podcasting platform where you can tune in every fortnight or so when a new episode will land. I'm thinking of creating a bit of a mailing list where I can share some other thoughts and extra things for people that want them. And, let me know what you think on that too. So look, that's it for me for this week. Thanks so much for listening. All the very best. Bye. Bye.

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