Friday 13 February 2004

Apartheid in Scotland

The French Parliament has banned the wearing of headscarves in state schools. Now, there's a similar development in Germany:
The dominant party in the western German state of Hesse on Tuesday proposed legislation that would ban Muslim civil servants from wearing headscarves, a measure that goes further than three other states' proposals to outlaw the veil for public school teachers
This sort of thing doesn't go on in Scotland, does it?

Actually, we have our own homegrown religious conflicts in Scottish schools:

Scotland’s first mixed-faith secondary school campus has been hit by fresh controversy following news that the headteacher of the Catholic school at the complex was ordered to take down religious artefacts.

Marion Docherty received an e-mail message from Midlothian council’s director of education, instructing her to remove items from a wall in a shared corridor in the £33 million building.

The situation is utterly ridiculous. We have two separate state school systems in Scotland - one Catholic and the other "non-denominational". Two of these schools in the Midlothian town of Dalkeith now share a common campus but the whole arrangement has been plagued with trouble from the start. There was even talk of teachers having to use separate toilets. Unsurprisingly, Muslims now want their own state schools.

I note this afternoon that Edinburgh City Council is about to spend £550 million on school redevelopment. Now I wonder if this has anything to do with the cost:

Designs for the school buildings involved have still to be drawn-up, but it is expected that Forrester High and the neighbouring St Augustine’s RC High, which already share some facilities, will be housed in a shared campus.
It's that religious duplication again - at the taxpayers' expense. Why not merge these two schools completely? No wonder our council taxes have just been increased by well above the rate of inflation.

The state shouldn't be in the education business, but as long as it is why should we be asked to fund two or goodness knows how many more brands of "faith" school.

The headscarf problem in France is also the result of state-run education. Let's privatise all schools. Then they can set their own rules - at their own expense.