|Boost for Catholic tertiary education : AEC bishops announce plans in pastoral letter - Oct 16|
|2011 - News|
|Friday, 14 October 2011 11:00|
Caribbean bishops intend to establish more Catholic tertiary level educational institutions, and promote “ongoing faith formation and professional development programmes” for teachers across the region.
The Antilles Episcopal Conference (AEC) placed these two items on their agenda as they reaffirmed their commitment to Catholic education in a recent pastoral letter. The letter has been in the developmental stage since their May 8-14 Annual Plenary Meeting in Bridgetown, Barbados.
In the 47-page document, the AEC stated that there was a demand for Catholic tertiary institutions like CREDI and therefore “serious steps need to be taken within the structure of the Catholic education system to include in the immediate vision of the Catholic Church, the establishment of such institutions to meet the needs of its people”.
With regard to those who staff Catholic schools, the bishops said there should be “ongoing faith formation and professional development programmes …so that administrators and teachers in Catholic schools can continue to grow in the ministry of education. These programmes will introduce new and effective initiatives, educational models and approaches, while always maintaining a sound Catholic identity in our schools”.
The bishops pointed to the importance of well-formed teachers, saying their formation “will allow the Gospel message and the living presence of Jesus to penetrate the entire life of the school community and thus be faithful to the school’s evangelisation mission”. They called on Catholic teachers to be “grounded in a faith-based Catholic culture, and be witness to the faith in both words and actions”.
The bishops acknowledged the contribution of non-Catholic teachers in Catholic schools, who supported and cooperated in accomplishing the mission of the Catholic schools.
Two other agenda items addressed were the need to “intensify our efforts to maintain and develop the cordial relationships with the civil authorities” and the development of programmes to assist parish priests, clergy, seminarians and laity “to understand, appreciate, support and promote the critical value of our Catholic schools in fulfilling the teaching ministry of the Church”.
Quoting from The Catholic School on the Threshold of the Third Millennium, a document prepared by the Vatican’s Congregation for Catholic Education, the pastoral letter identified some of the challenges facing Catholic education: a crisis of values, extreme pluralism, rapid structural change and multiculturalism. The bishops also raised the issues of fewer religious and priests in the school system, the increase in lay leadership, and the need “for vocation promotion in Catholic schools through Catholic education”.
The issue of financial assistance from governments was also addressed, with the AEC stating that Catholic schools have a right to be subsidised “because these institutions provide a service to society…it is also the responsibility of the State to ensure quality education for its citizens”. It added: “In no way would such assistance compromise the separation of Church and State.”
The AEC said it was grateful to the many regional governments which undertook “the full or partial payment of salaries to the schools’ faculties” or which provided a subvention to assist in the running of the schools. “No doubt more can be done,” the bishops said.
The full text of the AEC pastoral letter and a summary by Dr Bernard Tappin, corporate secretary of the Catholic Education Board of Management (POS Archdiocese), are available at www.aecrc.org________________________________________________________________________________________ **DISCLAIMER**: User comments posted on this website are the sole views and opinions of the comment writer and are not representative of Camsel/Catholic News or its staff. Camsel/Catholic News accepts no liability and will not be held accountable for user comments. Please help us keep our site clean from inappropriate comments by using the flag option. Camsel/Catholic News reserves the right to remove, to edit or to censor any comments. Any content which is considered unsuitable, unlawful or offensive, includes personal details, advertises or promotes products, services or websites or repeats previous comments will be removed. Before posting, please refer to the Comments Policy under Resources