Buddhist Religious Instruction in Victorian Schools (bRI)
Why is Buddhist Religious Instruction needed?
“Life in Australia oﬀers a wonderful opportunity to develop and practice our values and traditions in a place where we are able to respect one another and strive toward building a harmonious community.” (from “A Sense of Place: Victoria’s Multi-Faith Religious Celebration for Federation. 2001″)
This is fostered in diﬀerent ways within the government school system. For instance, parents can choose to involve their child in religious instruction at school. As well, classroom teachers often include topics on comparative religion in their lessons on community and society, festivals and so on.
Awakening Mind skills and values are ones we all cherish for now and for the future of our world and our children. By making Buddhist understandings available in Victorian schools, not only is greater knowledge and acceptance encouraged, but Buddhist children can feel that their religious and cultural backgrounds are being recognized and respected in mainstream education.
The Program in Action
Class presentations or regular classes contribute to the spiritual development of every child who attends, while respecting the on-going programs provided by schools.
Classes compliment existing societal values and well-being courses by emphasising and practicing the skills of tolerance, co-operation and non-violence. Simple meditation instruction would also be given.
Everything instructed in classes is based on the teaching of the Buddha, without adhering to one particular tradition or culture.
As well as learning about the life of the Buddha, lessons are taken from the myths and fables of the Jataka Tales. These delightful stories impart moral values through the exploits of animals and other legendary characters and are the base of much Asian literature and culture.
Following contemporary approaches, lessons are built around cooperative and active learning, respecting and drawing on the children’s own experiences and bridging learning with contemporary everyday life.
These classes are open to all children, regardless of their cultural and religious backgrounds. Weekly 30 minute classes are only oﬀered where the Principal, School Council and parents have consented that they be made available.
In keeping with other religious faiths, the Department of Education and Training, through the Buddhist Council of Victoria, oﬀers Buddhist teachings for children whose parents voluntarily choose this option.
Accreditation and Registration
The Resource Manual and the instructor training program of the Buddhist Religious Instruction program has been fully approved and accredited by the Department of Education and Training through the auspices of Religions for Peace.
Volunteers who successfully complete our 15 hour training program and satisfy all other prerequisites gain registration with the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, Religions for Peace Australia and the Buddhist Council of Victoria as a volunteer instructor of Religious Instruction (Buddhism) in Victorian Schools.
bEngaged photo card below: