Many Muslim and independent Christian schools in England are getting failing grades for their narrow curricula and teaching civic concern and tolerance to their students, according to a recent British government report.
The Economist (Jan. 22) reports that independent religious schools are growing rapidly in England; there were 170 in September of 2003 and now there are 276, of which 118 are Muslim. While these schools do not have to stick to the national curriculum, they do have to meet new requirements on curriculum and citizenship, including tolerance of “non-traditional lifestyles” (largely meaning homosexuality).
While most have managed to pass, 88 of them have yet to meet the requirements on breadth of curriculum, 50 of which are Muslim. Of that number, 18 have been advised to improve their teachings on citizenship or risk being closed down. Some of these Muslim schools are small seminaries that mainly teach the Koran.
There are also state-funded Muslim schools but they have raised little objection. Both Muslim and Christian parents are worried that their schools are facing an “imposed secular standard” by the educational establishment.