LONDON, July 6 (Reuters) – At his small north London high school, 15-year-old Yossi Hamilton pores over sacred texts as his Jewish ancestors did for over two thousand years, part of a curriculum that he says prepares him for his future.
This special faith-based education is profoundly important to Hamilton’s strictly Orthodox Haredi Jewish community, which numbers 80,000 in Britain. Many are the descendants of Holocaust survivors and are extremely protective of their way of life.
Educating its children in private schools and at home, the Haredi community, along with some Muslim and Christian groups in Britain, says it is deeply troubled by a new government-backed proposal to register all home-schooled children.
Although the proposed new legislation wouldn’t directly affect pupils in schools such as Hamilton’s, faith groups see it as the state exercising more control over education and fear it could ultimately lead to new rules on what children are taught both at home and at school.
“This intrusion by the state not only threatens parental rights and fundamental freedoms but also puts at risk the faith, culture and traditional way of life cherished by the strictly Orthodox Jewish community,” said Rabbi Asher Gratt, a former governor at the biggest Haredi school in London.
Echoing those concerns, Randall Hardy, a Christian who home educated his children, said: “Calls for registration are not just about knowing where children are, they are ultimately about overseeing what all children are taught, which is why many Christians are concerned about bills like this one.”
All children in Britain from the age of five must be in full-time education. They can be in state or privately-run schools, or be home educated.
The government says it needs the new legislation as there is no legal obligation to report whether a child is home schooled. It estimates 86,200 children were being taught at home as of early 2023.
“There are children falling through the net at the moment,” said Flick Drummond, a lawmaker with the ruling Conservative party who is behind the bill in England. The legislation has no intention of targeting faith communities, she added.
While schools are inspected by a national body, local authorities can check the quality of home schooling once they know a child is taught that way.
“Every child has the right to a safe and suitable education,” said a spokesperson for the Department of Education.
But who defines what is “suitable” is why some faith groups are alarmed. At present, “suitable” is defined as including numeracy, literacy and skills to equip them for life within the wider community.
Hamilton is a student at the Beis Medrash Elyon high school for just over 90 boys, which is funded by donors and fees.
“As long as possible I want to sit and ponder the Talmudical texts … and then I will go into the workforce and add to the English economy,” Hamilton said.
The students’ nine-hour day begins with intense learning of the Talmud, a study of Jewish law, and is followed by core subjects such as maths and English, as well as sports.
Pictures of Rabbis adorn the walls of the modern building, which also has an indoor soccer pitch and a snooker table.
Lessons omit the modules on sex education and sexual diversity typically taught to their secular peers, which are deemed inappropriate or contrary to biblical teachings by the school and parents.
Pupils use computers, but smart phones are not allowed. The boys leave at 16 to pursue advanced religious studies before marriage and careers typically in commerce.
Underlying the tensions at play between the community and secular state, the government’s educational standards office Ofsted, which inspects schools, said in 2021 the school’s secular curriculum was too narrow.
A later inspection found more focus on secular subjects, but said the teaching did not pay enough regard to sexual orientation and gender identities. This limits pupils’ preparation for life in modern Britain, it said.
In Israel, the fast-growing Haredi community faces similar accusations by secular Israelis of not preparing their children for modern life and especially for work in the modern economy, a charge they reject as biased against their way of life.
Shakeel Afsar is a Muslim property developer who led protests outside a primary school in the British city of Birmingham in 2019 over its teaching on same-sex relations.
“Today, they (the authorities) are asking for a register to know about the welfare of the child, but where will it stop? Tomorrow they might be saying to parents if you are home schooling you must cover syllabuses that are completely against your Abrahamic faith,” he said.
Despite government assurances about the intentions of the register, the Haredim fear interference.
“Hear our pain and our deep request to leave us alone to allow us to keep our identity,” said Rabbi Herschel Gluck, a Haredi community leader.
How Microsoft Education Tools Empower College Students
As a corporation that stands behind the major educational software platforms like Office 365, Microsoft has always done its best to address the needs of college students. As virtual learning has taken place with all the new tasks and challenges, they have also done proper research by focusing on inclusive classrooms, among other things. As a part of the technology and learning tools offered, Microsoft’s inclusive classroom module is one of a kind as it’s aimed at educators dealing with various subjects. If diversity is one of the learning objectives, as well as empowering every student, this module (based on Office 365 and OneNote) helps to empower students both individually and as a diverse group.
How Microsoft Education Tools Empower College Students
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Since there is a plethora of different useful apps and solutions that can be found in the Microsoft Store, many students and parents would be happy to receive a discount. Considering this wish, Microsoft offers a generous 10% off on various software apps and even hardware devices, which is significant. This way, you can get various editing modules or accessories to make your learning process inspiring! Now, if you require a different type of assistance as you go through homework troubles, consider WritingUniverse as a way to get things done on time. Regardless if you seek professional editing or just need to check something, it’s a safe way to go where using Microsoft’s native products takes things to another level!
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– Windows 11 Education.
What makes Windows 11 Education Edition unique is the focus on inclusive education and empowering students. Unlike previous versions of the OS, Windows 11 EDU helps to address the needs of students with different physical or intellectual skills. Regardless if you are visiting a physical classroom or studying remotely, there will be relevant tools that can help address all your critical needs. If the talk is about special education classes with specific learning and accessibility objectives, Windows 11 Education is the best choice where you can find the latest AI-based and highly flexible solutions.
Microsoft Educator Academy
It’s one of the most important and massive investments by Microsoft in terms of helping students stay empowered as they participate in various educational processes. The team behind Microsoft Educator took a slightly different approach by focusing on the challenges faced by teachers and parents without violating all the existing standards and policies. What makes this type of training different is the presence of school leader training and working in teams. Another important aspect is addressing the factors like family background and cultural peculiarities of students. It helps to achieve diversity in the classroom and provides teachers and students with additional resources. By visiting Learn Educator Center, one can easily choose and adjust those modules that are relevant to a specific course or objectives that one may have.
Ruby Butz is a tech writing expert at GrabMyEssay with a passion for revolutionizing education through modern online learning methods. With her consulting expertise, Ruby offers invaluable guidance to both students and educators alike. Her love for writing and sharing helpful tips has enabled countless learners to take their knowledge to new heights and achieve academic success. Follow Ruby’s lead to unlock your potential and excel in your educational pursuits.
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