Faith permeates all educational establishments. Often this is manifest through the diversity of beliefs held by students, faculty and governors. In such cases, immigrant and other new religions can present a number of distinctive challenges. At the same time, recent government policy has resulted in a growth in schools with a faith ethos – a move that critics argue will result in religious identity being valued at the cost of social cohesion.
In a democratic society, places of learning are typically expected to encourage students to question conventional wisdoms and to offer alternative perspectives on a wide range of subjects. But educational institutions are also expected to have a duty of care and the responsibility of protecting students from hate speech and so-called radicalising or extremist influences – and, in line with Prevent directives, to divert students from being drawn towards terrorist activities. This has resulted in concerns that free speech and open debate are being stifled, with some staff vocally resisting what they consider to be a ‘policing’ of students.
Can we, as a society, agree on ‘the right balance’ between freedoms and security, or does faith need to be singled out for special monitoring and management within the educational milieu? If so, which faiths, and for what reasons?
As is the practice at Inform Seminars, these and other related issues will be discussed from a wide variety of perspectives.
Tickets, which include sandwich lunch, morning coffee and afternoon tea, booked before 17 October are £38 (£18 for students/unwaged). Tickets booked after 17 October will be £48 (£28 students/unwaged). Register and pay online or post cheque and booking form to: Inform, Houghton St., London, WC2A 2AE