There are many reasons why parents choose to place their children in religious schools. Parents feel that their kids must not only be taught academic subjects buts that they must also be exposed to the foundation of their religious background. They want the kids to receive a solid background in ethics and they want them to develop a healthy moral foundation. Most religious schools are privately owned and managed.
Religious schools have actually been around for thousands of years. Churches have always been running educational programs and many people, especially in the third world, would never have received any form of formal education if it was not for the schools founded and run by missionaries. Modern religious schools have excellent reputations and they generally achieve better results than most mainstream schools. They also do not experience as much disciplinary problems that seems to be one of the main problems in state run schools.
Most religious schools have very strict entrance criteria. Students are expected to behave well and poor discipline can lead to expulsion. Classes are generally smaller which means that students receive individual attention. This is one of the reasons why these schools, on average, produce better academic results. Teachers enjoy teaching at these schools because they do not have to deal with unruly classes and poor discipline.
Critics say that these schools are too exclusive and the cost of maintaining them is too high. They belief that it should be up to the child to decide whether he wants religious instruction or not. Some critics even think that these schools are contravening the constitution. Religious studies, they say, should never be part of the formal curriculum but that parents should rather enroll their kids in extramural religious classes.
Before enrolling a child in a religious school it is important to investigate the principles underlying doctrine followed by the school. Pious parents, especially, must make sure that their child will also receive a good academic schooling and that extramural activities such as sport and cultural activities are also on offer. It is the interest of the child to receive a balanced education.
Parents may never abdicate their responsibility regarding the education of their children. Even the very best schools cannot take full responsibility for each student. The parents have a vital role to play and they should make sure that they stay actively involved with their child. Care should also be taken to make sure that the child is not completely isolated from the rest of the world.
Students at religious schools often enjoy advantages that are not available to students at state schools. However, parents should be careful to make sure that their kids understand that they are part of the modern world. Care should also be taken to not force kids to accept a specific religion. They may rebel and cause endless heartache at a later stage.