By Joseph Quinn
HOW is Catholic education faring in various parts of the world? State ments given me last week by delegates attending the mem
orable meeting in London of the World Union of Catholic Teachers, indicate that many governments today welcome Catholic schools and, in varying degrees, arc willing to help provide and maintain them.
Behind the Iron Curtain the picture appears to be as black as ever. no delegates attended the London Conference.
But Britain's Minister of Education, Sir Edward Boyle. who emphasised last week that the opportunities for Catholic children in Catholic schools should be the same as for children elsewhere. is obviously echoed by the Education Ministers of many nations.
England and Wales
The greatest freedom for the teacher seems to be given in England and Wales where, as pointed out by Mr. John Finan. Headmaster of St. Aloysius'. Manchester, the Ministry of Education does not plan but merely supervises to ensure that the Local Education Authority and the teachers give °pool tunity to each child to deselop individually. Bishop Beck. in his address on Wednesday night. had this to add: "In this country we are in a unique position in the sense that this is the only country in the world where, by law. in every school in the public education service the day begins with an act of worship: the only country in the world. I think, in which there must be in the curriculum of every school a place for religious instruction.
"It is true that the contents of these functions vary from school to school, from board of governors to hoard of governors, from denomination to denomination, but we are preserving a tradition of immense importance in underlining the duty that we owe to God and the duty that we owe to our youngsters to gise them training in religion and religious upbringing."
Thus there is an attempt to found our education sa stem on God and the moral law and the fault lies with the individuals who put the law into practice and who are given such latitude as befits professional men and women.
The system showing the greatest regard for parental rights—without the slightest injury to the child—is undoubtedly that of SCOTLAND. It seemed clear that, if asked to plump for any tYPe of education system, the majority of delegates would — after hearing Scottish Delegate Miss M. McGuigan— have chosen that of Scotland.
When Miss McGuigan spoke of grants for students for the priesthood their admiration was most evident and her description of the "close friendship between the hierarchy and the teachers" brought looks of near envy from more than one member of her audience.
The picture in HOLLAND is like that in Scotland. Buildings and equipment are provided by the government and local authorities, and teachers are paid the tame salary scales as those in a-religious and Protestant schools. There are thus no financial worries and they are free to plan their work as they please within the national framework.
Mr. R. Y. Potakey, leader of the Ghanaian Delegation, told me that (ilikNk has a similar system. The government pays for the schools buildings, equipment and books and also pays the salaries as in the other schools, leaving complete freedom to Catholics. and. indeed, giving them strong support. They wished that some of the funds given for emerging and growing nations by Catholic organisations for Catholic education could be given so that governments could appreciate that this was part of the great national effort attributable to their own Catholic nationals, thus cementing the cooperation between government and Church.
The only trouble with Catholic secondary schools in Ghana is lack of staff. Mr. Potakey and his compatriots assured me that if more
British Catholic graduate teachers went out for a time to Catholic secondary schools in Ghana, they would be welcomed by the Government and given every facility. They laughed at the idea of persecution which had been conjured up at times. "We can assure you." they said. "there is perfect freedom in all educational affairs."
The current set-up in FRANCF was described by M. L .Abbe Duhamel who told the assembly that since 1959 salaries in Catholic schools have been paid by the government although on the lowest scale. but the Church must provide the buildings. There are associations of members of parliament, parents' organisations and teachers' unions all striving to influence the authorities to contribute to the building of Catholic schools. Owing to the French population explosion, by 1970 one-quarter of the total French population will be of school age. Already it is proving impossible to provide places for two-thirds of the Catholic children seeking admission to Catholic schools.
In WESTERN GERMANY each Land has its own system of educa
tion. Westphalia gives complete freedom of choice to parents in primary education, building schools and paying salaries. Secondary education is scarcely touched by the Land government but denominational schools are subsidised as part of the general conimunity effort.
In Irsix. religious instruction is given in the State schools. It is written in their law that "Religion is the foundation and flower of education". Even private nursery schools receive a government grant and it is hoped that in the not too distant future private secondary schools will be able to qualify for help.
In TANGANYIKA, Fr. Mzuanda of Morogoro told roe voluntary Christian schools must provide all things for themselves, both buildings and equipment. The staff receives salaries from the State but these are not on a par with publicly run schools, nor do teachers in these Christian schools qualify for pensions. A scheme is on foot whereby the Church will build the schools, manage them. and appoint the staff, but the government will provide equipment and books, pay the salaries of the staff ae in the other schools and, in the case of the secondary schools. pay the fees of some at least of the pupils attending.
South American governments. learned, do not seem to be as enlightened as their colleagues in Europe and Africa.
In PERU, Fr. Emilio Kouri. of Lima, explained to me, no help is given to Catholic schools but priests and religious are allowed into the stateschools to teach Christian doctrine for one hour per week. In order to keep Catholic schools going the parents have to pay, since priests and religious are so feve (one priest per 15.000 inhabitants) the Catholic schools are run mainly by laymen. Some nuns and brothers run training colleges for the state. but there are only some 200 Brothers in the whole of the country. The Maryknoll Fathers have recently founded a special catechetical training school to give short courses, a month or so, to native Indians who then go out as catechists to evangelise their own fellow-Indians.
From ARUEN1INE comes the sad tale of lack of government help for Catholic schools, In order to keep some form of Catholic education in the country it is necessary to pay to go to Catholic schools and this so many parents are unable to do. "A great part of the child population and of the teenagers, completely involuntarily on their part, receive only an education from which God is entirely absent." I was told by a member of the Argentinian delegation.
The position in MEXICO. I felt, was one of opposition tempered today with tolerance. A strong Parent-Teacher association watches all moves of the Ministry of Education and acts vigorously against any proposed legislation which appears to be unjust.
But from VENEZUELA, where the State does not support Catholic education. there comes a tale, given me by the Mother Provincial of the Ursulines. which takes us back to the spirit of the early days of the Church in the Roman Empire.
The Catholics who are rich are rich indeed. and they try to share their wealth by providing a Catholic Education system out of their own private fortunes, As an example, the Ursulines were invited to open schools in Caracas and Maracaibo and the wealthy ladies set to to help them, providing buildings and finances, and, in general, setting the schools upon their feet right from the start.
In the FAR East. as we can expect, little is done to help Catholic schools. but except where the Church is persecuted, they are not obstructed and can carry out their work in peace and in safety.
The Catholics of TFIATT AND number only two per cent of the total population (this again from the Ursulines) and their schools receive no state aid but are expected to follow the prescribed syllabus laid down by the Ministry of Education and are inspected for efficiency by the Ministry. These schools are in the hands of missionaries and enjoy a high reputation. The children of the more cultured non-Catholic families are sent there because of this higher standard and so much so that they have swamped the Catholic children and now form some 90 per cent of the children in most Catholic schools.
Fr. Francis Lennartz. Si.. a great favourite of the delegates. and much respected by them, who is in Europe from JAPAN for a specialist course. gave me much information on that country. Primary education is virtually a state monopoly but private schools hold the field in secondary and higher education, since three-quarters Of those attending high schools are in private schools (which include Catholic schools). The state provides some help for equipment. There are also three Catholic universities which enjoy a high reputation. Students of Catholic universities find work easier to obtain since they have a greater facility with foreign languages. are above the general average in moral standards, and so few of them turn out to be Communists.