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Atheism to be taught to Irish schoolchildrenUp to 16,000 primary-school pupils in non-denominational sector will get tuition in atheism, while the rest will be offered courses on the internet and on smartphone apps.In a historic move that will cheer Richard Dawkins, atheists in Ireland have secured the right to teach the republic's primary schoolchildren that God doesn't exist.The first ever atheist curriculum for thousands of primary-school pupils in Ireland has been drawn up by Atheist Ireland in an education system that the Catholic church hierarchy has traditionally dominated.The class of September 2014 will be reading texts such as Dawkins' The Magic of Reality, his book aimed at children, as well as other material at four different primary levels, according to Atheist Ireland.Up to 16,000 primary schoolchildren who attend the fast-growing non-denominational Irish school sector will receive direct tuition on atheism as part of their basic introduction course to ethics and belief systems.But Michael Nugent, Atheist Ireland's co-founder, stressed that all primary-school pupils, including the 93% of the population who attend schools run by the Catholic church, can access their atheism course on the internet and by downloading an app on smartphones. He said these would be advertised and offered to all parents with children at primary schools in the state."There will be a module of 10 classes of between 30 to 40 minutes from the ages of four upwards. It is necessary because the Irish education system has for too long been totally biased in favour of religious indoctrination. And if parents whose kids are in schools under church control want to opt their kids out of learning religion (as is their right these days) then they can use our course as an alternative for their children to study," he said.Nugent added: "Religion isn't even taught properly as an objective subject with various religions and their origins examined and explained. The teaching is to create faith formation first, not objective education. We see our course as a chance for young Irish children to get an alternative view on how the world works."Jane Donnelly, a member of Atheist Ireland and a parent of two children in an Irish secondary school, welcomed the creation of an atheism alternative for Irish pupils."I opted my two girls out of religious education classes and they were told to go to the library and find a philosophy book to read during RE instead. The range of philosophy books was very limited so I sent them into school each day with a copy of Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion for them to read."Religion, education and the Irish Republic• God is omnipresent in the 1937 Irish constitution, with article 6.1 stating: "All powers of government, legislative, executive and judicial, derive, under God, from the people"; and article 44.1 noting: "The State acknowledges that the homage of public worship is due to Almighty God. It shall hold His Name in reverence, and shall respect and honour religion."• Since the foundation of the republic, the Catholic church controls up to 93% of the state's 3,200 primary schools.• The Catholic church's near monopoly of influence in education means that the ultimate power in each school is the local Catholic bishop.
pianodwarf is in Ireland for a few weeks... coincidence?
Can you imagine if that was even proposed here in he states?
Still, seems a shame you need to teach atheism. Just don't teach religion or let religion influence textbooks. No, I think 'skepticism'...that is what should be taught. Atheism would just be a natural consequence.
pianodwarf is back stateside... he can set us straight on whether he had anything to do with this