An unpublished document by the Education and Training Boards Ireland has raised concerns about the prominence of Catholic practices and symbols in Irish State Schools.
The document says that mandatory graduation Masses, diocesan inspections and the prevalence of Catholic symbols found in many formerly vocational schools are contrary to the Education and Training Boards’ (ETBs) multidenominational ethos.
The “framework for the recognition of religious belief/identities of all students in ETB schools” mandates that such schools must now no longer bias symbols of one particular religion and should, for example, look to balance traditional Christian symbols during Christmas with Islamic symbols at Eid.
The Education and Training Boards also lay out curriculum changes, replacing any faith formation with a general education on different religions and requiring that all religious events are only provided on an opt-in basis.
The new rules will also remove any Catholic oversight of teaching, with Religious Education teachers now exclusively trained by multidenominational bodies and with schools no longer overseen by diocesan inspectors.
The guidelines will not, however, necessarily apply to the 70 ETB schools that have pre-existing agreements with the Catholic Church on the instruction of Catholic students.
In the Irish Times, the general secretary of Education and Training Boards Ireland, Paddy Lavelle, said that the new framework highlighted “the importance of catering for children of all religious and non-religious worldviews equally”.
Having been unable to sell in churches for well over a year due to the pandemic, we are now inviting readers to support the Herald by investing in our future. We have been a bold and influential voice in the church since 1888, standing up for traditional Catholic culture and values.
Please join us on our 130 year mission by supporting us. We are raising £250,000 to safeguard the Herald as a world-leading voice in Catholic journalism and teaching. For more information from our chairman on contributing to the Herald Patron's Fund, click here
Make a Donation
Donors giving £500 or more will automatically become sponsor patrons of the Herald. This includes two complimentary print/digital gift subscriptions, invitations to Patron events, pilgrimages and dinners, and 6 gift subscriptions sent to priests, seminaries, Catholic schools, religious care homes and prison and university chaplaincies. Click here for more information on becoming a Patron Sponsor. Click here for more information about contributing to the Herald Patron's Fund