Director of the Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) Department of Public Affairs and Religious Liberty, Nigel Coke is upbeat over talks with the minister of education about alternative dates for SDA students whenever examinations fall on the Sabbath.
“We have had communication from anxious and concerned students who have stated that they have exam days on the Sabbath at the end of this semester in May. To that end, we (a team from the Jamaica Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists) had a meeting with the minister of education (Senator Ruel Reid) and his team two weeks ago and a proposal is being put forward, and we are expecting a favourable response,” Coke revealed.
He said that “the principle is that there should be no discrimination against students because of their religious beliefs, practices or observances”.
“If exams, field trips, labs, et cetera are timetabled in a manner that infringes a student’s right against religious discrimination then, by the principle of accommodation, the educational institution should set and offer an alternate date and time for the exam, field trip, lab, et cetera, that does not infringe the student’s right to practise his/her religious belief or observance,” Coke argued.