Louder than words

Filed in Latest News by on August 26, 2013

Canon Richard Pengelley
Director Service Learning and Leadership

Following our May 2013 Ethics Matters conference and associated publicity in the WA media Canon Pengelly, the Director Service, Learning & Leadership at CCGS Perth, wrote… 

“Peter… has been coming to Australia for many years and has been instrumental in improving the standard of Religious Education in particular. As you may have seen in The West Australian on Wednesday 15 May, Peter (incorrectly called a theologian – he is a philosopher), argued that Australian schools are not offering enough in the way of religious, ethical and philosophical education and discourse. What Australian children are missing out on, he argues, “Is the ability to address fundamental issues about meaning, the nature of religion, to engage at a deeper level and to be critical of their own views.” Further, he goes on, “I see more and more Australian education is utilitarian based, about getting through exams in order to prepare for jobs. We need Australians who are the finest scientists in the world, but we also need people who are ethically informed and that’s a vacuum that I don’t think is being addressed.” I joined CCGS last year from the University of WA, where after an extensive process of review, consultation and reflection, the new courses of study were implemented in 2012 requiring students to complete a general undergraduate degree before specialising. This was intended to ensure a “large and liberal” education before taking courses that were more career oriented. At the same time UWA joined the Tony Blair Faith Foundation’s religion and globalisation initiative. Peter Vardy was influential in these decisions. I think we are very fortunate that CCGS continues to support the Centre for Ethics, offer PSD and Philosophy courses, maintain a vibrant chapel life, and encourage discourse around the issues of meaning, purpose, faith and value. I hope and pray that we will never succumb to the utilitarian idea that education is only about “getting through exams to prepare for jobs.”


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