Watch: “Equality Bill needs to allow teaching based on Church schools’ ethos”

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Church schools are proposing that the proposed Equality Bill is amended so as to allow teaching at religious schools’ to be based on the school’s ethos, Fr Jimmy Bartolo explained during Newsbook Hour aired on 103FM and hosted by Fr Joe Borg.

During an interview on Saturday, Fr Jimmy Bartolo explained that when parents choose to send their children to a Church school, they do so not only because they are considered ‘good’ but because their child will receive a good Catholic formation at the chosen school.

If the draft Bill makes through Parliament without any amendments, the ethos of the school only be taught during religion classes otherwise a teacher might be accused of discrimination.

St Aloysius Rector and Church School Association coordinator, Fr Bartolo, argued that while Church schools are in favour of promoting equality and eliminating discrimination, the law as it is being propose would be very restrictive and would curb the right to freedom of religious expression.

He explained that if it had to be enacted as it is, and in the future abortion and euthanasia had to be legalised in Malta, and a discussion ensues in class on the topic, the Church’s view on the topic will be limited to religion classes. He warned that if it had to happen in another class, the teacher can be accused of discrimination.

“Whoever drafted the bill does not have any idea on how schools operate,” Fr Bartolo stated. He referred that the Church’s teachings cover various topic and said that they could not be limited just to religious class.

“From our mission statement to our vision statement to the activities we organise, our ethos is the foundation of everything we do,” Fr Bartolo remarked.

Fr Bartolo also mentioned the need to have a clear provision on conscientious objection in the draft Equality Bill.