Barbados: Government urged to scrap religious education in schools

Barbados Today:-Cut out the religious mumbo jumbo!

University of the West Indies (UWI) Political Scientist Dr Tennyson Joseph today called for an end to religious teachings and for the introduction of a fully secular curriculum in Barbados’ schools.

Joseph articulated the position during a session of the Barbados Senior Parliament held at UWI’s Cave Hill Campus.

In making his contribution to the topic Should Home Schooling Be Continued in Barbados? the UWI lecturer expressed the view that a universally accepted secular curriculum would eradicate any conflicts which may exist for non-Christian members of this island’s increasingly diverse society.

The issue of home schooling was thrown into the national spotlight after a Rastafarian couple was brought before the court for refusing to send their children to school.

In September, Ijui Jah and his partner Isartes Ibre were found guilty of breaching Section 41 of theEducation Act on the grounds that there was no record of the children attending formal classes.

Their children – who are both under age ten – have been placed in the custody of their paternal grandmother, pending the court’s sentencing decision on October 27.

However, in support of the Rastafarian couple’s contention that their son and daughter were being homeschooled, Joseph argued that any attempt to curtail parents’ choice to home school their child ought to be contingent on the provision of a universally acceptable education system by the State.

“The easiest way to make it [the education system] become what you want it to become is to have something called a secular education curriculum. This is universal,” Joseph said, explaining that “if you say one plus one equals two, whether you are Rastafari, whether you are Muslim or whether you are a Jew, you can teach my children one plus one equals two.

“But do not tell them about virgin births, which is a biological impossibility,” Joseph said, in an obvious reference to the Christian style of teaching.

He argued that the rest of the world had moved away from religious based education, while telling the authorities: “Don’t come with your packaged doctrines and say that is part of the curriculum and that a child cannot learn the secular things without it being packaged in religious clothing.

“As a matter of fact a modern society understands that separation,” he added.

While advocating homeschooling as a viable alternative for those with diverging beliefs, Joseph warned that the current religious-based system was failing already disenfranchised classes of society.

“The failures of the State are in fact leading to the disadvantaging of our women because they are ones carrying the burden of educating our children at home. It is leading to the disadvantaging of the poor families because they have to find alternatives to educate their children because the State will [not] do for us what we expect it to do for us in a context of independence and sovereignty . . .

“In addition to protecting our right to homeschool our children, we need to see that the struggle goes beyond that. We need to insist that the democratic State that represents us in the 50th year of our independence, the State to which we pay taxes we don’t have, begins to transform themselves into what we want them to become and they could start with education [reform] by separating religious mumbo jumbo from serious secular notions.

“If we do that, then we won’t have the problem that we do before us,” stressed Joseph.


  1. Anonymous
    October 20, 2016 at 11:17 am

    Dr Joseph is aptly decrebednn Ps. 14 : 1….This is the type of atheist that SOME members of the SLP want to bring here…. What is impossible with man/fools is possible with God.

    1. Anonymous
      October 20, 2016 at 2:56 pm


    2. Anonymous
      October 20, 2016 at 8:21 pm

      The brilliant predictor of the 2016 elections- no wonder they lost! and I have vowed never to do anything with UWI

  2. Anonymous
    October 20, 2016 at 5:54 pm

    prayers have not proven to help with social ills. i fully agree with the professor.

    1. Anonymous
      October 20, 2016 at 10:23 pm

      Perhaps you are not in this world. .

    2. SLUborn
      October 21, 2016 at 7:29 am

      because people like you exist.

  3. SLUborn
    October 21, 2016 at 7:28 am

    Wow. The beginning of the end when you take out religious education from the schools. that may be the only place that they are receiving it. smh. i went to a Catholic school and i am not Catholic. When they were participating in their Catholic teachings and/or prayers, non Catholics were simply excused from attending. Why cant this be the scenario in all schools? if you are not christian, simply excuse yourself from that class. As a Christian, i am in support of Christian education being taught in schools. If you are not and are raising your children as non-christian, respect the school’s teachings and excuse your child/ren. simple. God is Good.

  4. Anonymous
    October 21, 2016 at 5:57 pm

    AA. Tennyson is Rasta now. Jah Rastafari.

  5. tiffany
    November 1, 2016 at 10:10 am

    The separation of God from school is a philosophy pushed by dr Joseph SLP party in St Lucia. They were the first to remove prayers from parliament and trying to impose their beliefs on others. It the same manner gays want to push their lifestyle on others and now pedophiles believe they have rights. The educated and their doctrines of self love or “selfies”aim is to create chaos and this is what we must see. Who is the father or author of chaos , think…

  6. Anonymous
    March 26, 2017 at 1:16 pm

    Overstanding is all.