[From Education Week,1926]
THE Isle of Man has, happily, always been free from sectarian strife in the schools. Agreement on the necessity for Religious Instruction has been unanimous, and the spirit of conciliation and compromise has always been present in discussions on the best means of giving such knowledge
In the Education Act of 1920 it is laid down that :-
" The Education Authority shall, subject to the approval of the Council, from time to time, make regulations for the appointment, terms, and conditions of membership and proceedings of the Religious Instruction Advisory Committee, and such regulations shall provide that one-third of the Religious Instruction Advisory Committee shall be representatives of the Church of England, one-third of the Free Churches, and one-third of teachers in the employ of the Authority; and for the purpose of such appointment the Authority may delegate the power of selecting representatives to such body or groups of persons as the Authority consider will best represent the Church of England, the Free Churches, and the teachers respectively."
The Religious Instruction Advisory Committee was appointed accordingly, and first met on June 29th, 1921. The initial duty taken up was the preparation of a scheme of religious instruction for use in the Elementary Schools of the Island, and the scheme ultimately produced was approved by the Education Authority on April 26th, 1922
The syllabus requires that the first half-hour of each day shall be devoted to religious exercises and instruction. This instruction comprises selected courses of biblical study, graded according to age, and the whole is made to centre round the Apostles' Creed, the Lord's Prayer, the Ten Commandments, and the Two Great Commandments of the Gospel. The positive and practical sides of Christian teaching are especially emphasised.
A similar scheme for use in the Secondary Schools under the Authority was prepared in consultation with the Head Masters of these schools, and was adopted by the Authority on November 28th, 1923.
These two schemes have proved very efficient in working, and the Religious Instruction Advisory Committee have good cause for pride in the results of their labour. The teachers have entered into the spirit of the syllabuses, and the lessons are marked by careful preparation and a real sense of :reverent responsibility.