Dead languages beat live subjects in EBac madness

28th January 2011 at 00:00

Leo Winkley and Farooq Ahmed both argue for the inclusion of RE in the EBac (Letters, January 21). Here's why they are wrong.

The humanities have evolved from the classical tradition in European education, which aimed to study the highest achievements of humanity, particularly in literature and history. Renaissance humanism and later the Enlightenment emphasised how much human reason and creativity could achieve without divine support.

If pupils are to gain an objective understanding of the origins, effects and spread of religions, that is best done through history and geography. In addition, these two subjects, unlike RE, have rigorous disciplines which empower young people to make sense of human activities and their impact on the natural world.

The EBac is a commendable initiative to define the essence of a broad and balanced education. That essence should not be diluted. Moreover, RE is already a statutory requirement for all pupils.

Martin Roberts, Former headteacher of the Cherwell School, Oxford, and fellow of the Historical Association.

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