The Malta Independent 4 October 2023, Wednesday
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INDEPTH: Religion studies should be optional – Michael Briguglio

INDEPTH online Friday, 31 March 2017, 11:05 Last update: about 7 years ago

Ethics should be compulsory in our education system and not optional, sociologist and former Alternattiva Demokratika leader Michael Briguglio said on INDEPTH.

Interviewed by The Malta Independent news editor Rachel Attard, Dr Briguglio said that at the moment only two state schools offer this subject, one of them being the Sliema primary school.  He said the subject brought children with different beliefs together in harmony and understanding. This instils in them a sense of integration and unity.


"What is important for me is not what religious beliefs you have, but minority groups have their beliefs respected by the constitution and the education system, and that the values of solidarity, tolerance and diversity are there for everyone, and are respected by everyone."

Dr Briguglio said that religion studies should be optional, pointing out that a number of issues that are being thought in ethics classes are in line with the Catholic religion. These include the values of solidarity and respect for one another.  However the government should have the final say on the matter and ensure that certain elements, like Sharia Law, are not taught in schools.

This whole debate started after the Muslim secondary school Miriam al Batool announced it would be closing its doors to secondary schools students as from the next scholastic year. Imam Mohammed El Sadi then suggested that Islam is taught to Muslim children who attend state schools.

Education Minister Evarist Bartolo, on Xarabank, did not object to this statement but insisted that any Islamic teaching should be in line with what the state and the Education Division say and be treated as the rest of the subjects.

Archbishop Scicluna said church schools have to respect religious freedom, thus confirming that he is open to the idea of non-Catholic students receiving education in their own religion.




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