HSV was a founding member in 2014 of the PathWays coalition, set up to offer school ‘presentations’ in which young adults respectfully discuss their different world-views. The program has been driven by the effort of Dr Paul Tonson and was described in VH last year, May and November. (See also Education Issues, here.) What is entirely new in Australian education, we believe, is that it combines freethought and faith voices. A good range of young people was recruited, and after incorporation in July 2015 a vivid website was developed, beliefpathways.org, appealing to teachers.
The inaugural annual general meeting on 18 October, at Uniting Church Synod, Melbourne, covered the eight presentations made before incorporation and ten during the year to 30 June 2016. A welcome feature of the meeting, which was chaired by the president, Dr Meredith Doig, was the address by the Victorian Multicultural Commissioner, Helen Kapalos, who noted the emerging dynamic of interbelief and expressed strong support for the PathWays project in the interest of social cohesion. She observed that freethought world-views were now included alongside religious education in England and Canada. PathWays anticipated to some extent the movement which will be realized in the official Victorian curriculum in 2017.
Stephen Stuart, PathWays treasurer