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Humanists sue as exam agency blocks GCSE

Humanists are suing the government's exam agency over its decision to prevent a board giving humanism equal status to faiths in a religious education GCSE GCSE
1. (in Britain) General Certificate of Secondary Education; an examination in specified subjects which replaced the GCE O level and CSE

2. Informal a pass in a GCSE examination

Noun 1.

The OCR board had proposed allowing children to study humanism in as much depth as Christianity, Islam and Judaism
This article is about the historical interaction between Islam and Judaism. For the history of the Jewish communities in Muslim lands, see History of the Jews under Muslim rule.
 in the GCSE but the move was barred by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority's regulator Ofqual. It said the syllabus put forward meant students would be able to study only humanism, rather than any of the major religions, which meant it did not fulfil their regulatory criteria.

The British Humanist Association  The British Humanist Association is an organisation of the United Kingdom which promotes Humanism. The BHA is committed to secularism, human rights, democracy, equality and mutual respect.  (BHA BHA butylated hydroxyanisole, an antioxidant used in foods, cosmetics, and pharmaceuticals that contain fats or oils.

A white, waxy phenolic antioxidant used to preserve fats and oils, especially in foods.
), backed by supporters including Philip Pullman and AC Grayling grayling, common name for a brilliantly colored fish belonging to the genus Thymallus, of the family Salmonidae (salmon family), and closely allied to the smelt. Graylings are found chiefly in clear, cold, fresh waters of the Northern Hemisphere. , this week issued proceedings for a judicial review, claiming it was discriminatory and in breach of the QCA's own criteria and the European convention on human rights “ECHR” redirects here. For the court, see European Court of Human Rights.

The Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, also known as the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR
, which gives non-religious beliefs equal status. Andrew Copson, BHA director of education, said: "It threatens to turn back the progress of recent decades towards a more inclusive, educationally valid and objective subject of RE."

Humanism has been included in RE for more than 30 years. The OCR curriculum would have been the first time it was given equal weighting to religions in a GCSE.

A spokesman for Ofqual said: "The subject criteria for the GCSE in religious studies require the study of one or more religions. These criteria were created by experts following extensive consultation."
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Date:Sep 13, 2008
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