Majority don't need chaplains

27th January 2006 at 00:00
Though Bill Rammell's comment that young people should learn about "all religions, traditions, beliefs, and forms of expression" is pleasingly inclusive of non-religious beliefs such as humanism, his call for "a chaplain in every college" must be countered. According to the Department for Education and Skills, 65 per cent of 12 to 19-year-olds have no religion.

Why then does the further education minister believe such wholesale provision of chaplains is necessary? If colleges are going to be inclusive - as they should be - pastoral support and moral guidance cannot be offered through a chaplaincy without the equal provision of non-religious "chaplains", counsellors or advisers. Nor can proper support for students be achieved through a "multi-faith" approach which is often lazily believed to include everyone but in fact excludes the non-religious: a majority of young people.

Andrew Copson

Education officer

British Humanist Association

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