FIJI NEWS

Church welcomes School Prayer Act

Archbishop PETER Chong APPRECIATEs firm clarification made to schools ANA SOVARAKI Suva The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Suva or the Catholic Church in Fiji is happy with the announcement made
19 Mar 2014 10:24

Archbishop PETER Chong APPRECIATEs firm clarification made to schools

Archbishop Peter Chong

ANA SOVARAKI
Suva
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Suva or the Catholic Church in Fiji is happy with the announcement made by the Attorney-General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, over religious observation in schools.
Archbishop Peter Chong, the Head of the Catholic Church in Fiji and Rotuma, said they welcomed the clarification.
“What we need is a firm clarification or statement to the church and schools on that. We appreciate an official directive,” Archbishop Chong said.
Mr Sayed-Khaiyum last week clarified that religious instruction, ceremony or observance may be given in any school, whether a government or private school.
Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said the Constitution provided that State and religion were separate; and it did not mean that schools could not conduct prayers and devotion in classes for their students.
He said neither teachers nor students could be compelled to give, or be present at such instruction if religious instruction, ceremony or observance related to a religion that was not his or her own.
Meanwhile, the Methodist Church in Fiji is talking with chaplains in its various schools around the country following last week’s incident at Suva Grammar School.
A Ministry of Education senior official wrote to the school stating that under the Constitution, teachers, as public servants, were not permitted to conduct prayers in schools.
The Attorney-General said this claim was wrong, unauthorised, and did not reflect the Government’s position.
Feedback: ana.sovaraki@fijisun.com.fj




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