Tuesday, March 25, 2008

It's All The Non-Catholics

Before the migrants migrated in, just about everyone in Ireland was Catholic.

No one minded that the Church ran all the schools, while taxpayers covered the costs. There was no diversity, so who cared that primary education was so decidedly non-secular? All the children needed religious training anyway, and if they had catechism lessons as part of their daily routine, things were running smoothly.

In came the others. All those non-Catholics, trying to get their children into Dublin schools that were already getting crowded. There are only about 200 primary schools that aren't Catholic, and that doesn't allow for a large student population.

There are plans to cut back on the Church's influence in the schools. The Archbishop of Dublin is not entirely against the idea, either.

A school here and there, should the parents wish, could be handed over to some other groups. Educate Together, which is a rainbow coalition of religions, might be interested in adding to their stable of schools. No need for catechism in such a place, and that would make it perfect for those who do not want a traditional Catholic education for their child.

The problem is, there's a move on to cut back on spending at all levels. Revenue is down as the Celtic Tiger slows to a crawl. If the Church no longer stands as a school's patron, with financial help from the collection plate, where is the money to come from?

As things now stand, some schools hold fundraisers to scrape up the cash for electricity and heat. Special needs aren't being met everywhere because there's not enough money to go around. Ireland has long been at the bottom of the league tables when it comes to financing education, and things can only get worse.

The Church might not be doing the best job at including all in the education system, but the old system produced the highly educated, computer savvy workforce that keeps the economy moving. Pity that the New Testament has to get in the way.


dublinstreams said...

and all those run down schools with prefabs, what of them? they were here long before the immigrants under the church/state system.

O hAnnrachainn said...

Even the prefabs beat the old hedge schools, unless you're particularly fond of the outdoors.

It's not just the buildings. If parents aren't around to push their little darlings to study their brains out, the best facilities in the world don't matter.