During this scholastic year the number of students who opted for ethics lessons instead of religion has gone up to just over 4,000. This means that seven percent of students in all schools are taking lessons in ethics.
With effect from 2014, state and some independent schools started offering lessons in ethics in primary and secondary schools. During this scholastic year 4,031 students chose to go for ethics. This is 7% out of a total school population of 57,000.
These statistics which were placed on the Table of the House show that over half of the students choosing ethics, 2,686, attend state schools.
Lucianne Zammit, the officer in charge of ethics lessons, explained that students are taught universal values.
“In ethics, we teach children to ponder and reflect on how best to live their lives. We teach them to consider the consequences of their lives, and we teach them about the rights and duties towards others. Ethics is based on universal values like respect, honesty and solidarity, which values are not based on any particular religion, meaning tht ethics can be taught to children of any religious belief, as well as to children not having religious beliefs. Ethics teaches children and youths to live with each other, even with persons who are different, and the basis of ethics is reflection and discussion.”
Zammit added that subjects like cyber bullying and animal rights, among other topics, are also taught in ethics.
Meanwhile, even religious lessons have been updated in response to what children and youths are seeking in today’s world, as explained by the officer in charge of religious instruction, Antoinette Laferla.
“The subject of religion contributes to an individual’s full personality, particularly when that person is querying and seeking out truths of life which are so valuable today. What is life? Who am I? Religion asks these major human questions. Religion these days has taken on a totally different facade, we have changed all books in Primary, giving them a modern twist which tackles spiritual values and aspects, modern aspects which they will come across.”
Laferla further stated that during lessons in religion, students are also taught about different religions. She added that students are urged to think critically rather than learn parrot fashion. Antoinette Laferla referred to practial projects carried out by students towards a more complete explanation of religion as a way of life.