New proposals on the curriculum will be launched next month...
New proposals could see religious education taken off the core curriculum for Irish primary schools.
Instead, schools will have the freedom to decide how much time should be spent teaching it as part of 'flexible time'.
Under proposals set to be launched next month, the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) will state that 60% of the school day should be set aside for teaching core subjects, including English, Irish and maths.
The remainder would be flexible, used for discretionary curriculum time, roll call, assembly and more.
Carl O'Brien, education editor with the Irish Times, told Newstalk Breakfast:
"A school could prioritise literacy or numeracy or maybe coding – which is going to be a new subject potentially for children at primary school level – in favour of religious education so it really gives schools much greater freedom for the time allocation on religion."
Schools typically teach religion for up to two and a half hours a week at the present time.