Under the UK government’s new free school policy that allows parents, charity organizations and faith groups to run institutions using public money, more schools with a Sikh ethos are scheduled to open.
The law allows religious minorities to launch institutes catering to their faith and cultural beliefs, and while they are funded directly by the government, free schools do not have to follow the national curriculum, but must provide a broad and balanced education, reports the Times of India.
These kinds of multi-faith schools already exist in the UK. However, the National Union of Teachers criticized the government policy, saying that it is like to “fuel social segregation and undermine local democracy.”
The most recent Sikh free school to be opened in the country was the Nishkam Primary School launched by the Nishkam School Trust in Birmingham. While the school was opened in September 2011, a secondary section of the Nishkam School is scheduled to open later this year.
The government is being lobbied by the large Leicester Sikh population and community leaders, who want to see more free schools set up in the city. They are in talks with local authorities over where it could be located.
Indy Panesar, president of Ramgarhia Sikh Temple in Leicester, said:
“Many parents have approached us for setting up schools and after consultations with them and seeing that there’s a demand, we have put together a business case for the government to look at.
“There is a sizeable Sikh community in Leicester and parents would like the option of sending their child to a school which has a background in the faith. So, after considering it for some time, we have decided to go ahead with this application.”
The school will be launched for Fall 2013.