“On Wednesday the Gauteng High Court handed down a judgment on the role and place of religion in public schools….
The court found that there was no law or provision in the Constitution which gave public schools and SGBs the right to adopt an ethos from one religion to the exclusion of others. All that the laws provided for was that SGBs could make rules that provided for religious policies and observances to be conducted on an equitable basis. This means that schools must treat different religions with an “even-hand”, which includes not favouring one and excluding other religions.
The court held that public schools may not adopt one religion to the exclusion of all others. The court made a declaratory order confirming that a public school cannot promote that it adheres predominantly to only one religion to the exclusion of others or hold itself out as promoting the interests of one religion over others.
In essence, this means that public schools may still conduct religious observances and promote religious values provided that these observances and values recognise a diversity of religions (including atheism or an absence of belief) and do not place one religion above all others. How this practically impacts the formulation of a school’s ethos remains to be seen.”
Read the full story about the OGOD judgement by Safura Abdool Karimon on GroundUp.