Carey says State must take control of church-run schools - The Irish Times - Mon, Jun 01, 2009 Government Chief Whip Pat Carey and Ruari Quinn,Labour Party spokesman on education are calling for nationalisation of denominational schools. They may have a receptive audience at present,given public revulsion towards the well documented disclosures of child abuse in the Ryan report. Catholic congregations cited in this report may come under pressure to transfer large numbers of schools to the state as a means of satisfying the government's demand to indemnify it for half the cost of compensating people abused in industrial schools and orphanages.
Advocates of secular education provision for an increasingly diverse society may welcome this. However,one good principle to follow in government is, "if it ain't broke,don't fix it!" The Catholic education system,structurally a private school system subsidised by the government which pays teachers' salaries, is certainly not broke. In fact,the Irish education system,largely Catholic, is ranked one of the best quality education systems internationally,according to the World Economic Forum's competitiveness rankings.
Transferring it to the government could undermine its high quality. Would the government that created the HSE,the bureaucratic monster that runs the health service, create a bureaucratic ESE, Education Service Executive? Or will it create expensive bureaucratic school board quangos like those in the USA and Canada that mainly serve to undermine the authority of schools managements?
There is a simple solution for creating secular schools out of Catholic schools. Simply remove the requirement to teach religion! Everything else can continue as before,more or less,except that the teachers no longer have to be Catholics and the school management can include non-Catholics.