Australia to Talk Religion in the Classroom

Teachers in the Australian state of Victoria will be allowed to legally discuss religion in the classroom in order to stay relevant to current events such as the war in Iraq.

The decision by the government is a historic modification of the state's avowedly secular education system.

The Education Act, which was drafted in 1872 had banned teachers from proclaiming "any instruction other than secular."

"We just want to modernize the legislation so that it actually accords with current practice in schools, which most would say was appropriate practice," said Education Minister Lynne Kosky, according to Reuters.

She also said that as part of the Government's rewriting of the Education act, voluntary religious education in state schools by outside instructors would continue, according to the Age.

Ever since a February announcement that the most important part of a secular state education system would be part of the the review of the Education Act, numerous people have requested changes, including the council for Christian Education in Schools.

Officials said that the public had misunderstood what had been intended.

"I think that information had been provided to a whole lot of groups that is not correct, that we were thinking of preventing religious instruction in schools. I've always made it very clear we were not going to do that," said Ms. Kosky.

CCES chief executive Neville Car welcomed Kosky's plans. On the decision to keep part of the education system religious, Carr said that it was important to keep a "very minimal grounding in the beliefs and practices which go back 2000 years to the Judeo-Christian foundations of our Australian culture and society."

He added that this applied equally for other religions including Judaism, Islam and Buddhism.