Catholic school
Catholic schools are maintained parochial school
Parochial school
A parochial school is a school that provides religious education in addition to conventional education. In a narrower sense, a parochial school is a Christian grammar school or high school which is part of, and run by, a parish.-United Kingdom:...

s or education ministries of the Catholic Church. the Church operates the world's largest non-governmental school system. Catholic schools participate in the evangelizing mission of the Church, integrating religious education as the core subject within their curriculum.
Irish immigration provides the main contribution to the increase in Catholic communities across the globe.
Catholic schools are maintained parochial school
Parochial school
A parochial school is a school that provides religious education in addition to conventional education. In a narrower sense, a parochial school is a Christian grammar school or high school which is part of, and run by, a parish.-United Kingdom:...

s or education ministries of the Catholic Church. the Church operates the world's largest non-governmental school system. Catholic schools participate in the evangelizing mission of the Church, integrating religious education as the core subject within their curriculum.


Irish immigration provides the main contribution to the increase in Catholic communities across the globe. The Irish immigration established the revival of Catholicism through movement to countries across Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

, United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 and Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

. Historically, the establishment of Catholic schools in Europe encountered various struggles following the creation of the Church of England
Church of England
The Church of England is the officially established Christian church in England and the Mother Church of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The church considers itself within the tradition of Western Christianity and dates its formal establishment principally to the mission to England by St...

 in the Elizabethan Religious settlements of 1558-63. Anti-Catholicism in this period encouraged Catholics to create modern Catholic education systems to preserve their traditions. The Relief Acts of 1782 and the Catholic Emancipation Act of 1829 later increased the possibility to openly practice Catholicism
Catholicism is a broad term for the body of the Catholic faith, its theologies and doctrines, its liturgical, ethical, spiritual, and behavioral characteristics, as well as a religious people as a whole....

 in England and to create charitable institutions by the Church. This led to the development of numerous native religious congregations which established schools, hospitals, orphanages, reformatories, and workhouses.

Traditionally, Catholic schools originated as single sex schools. Catholic schools were previously required to depend on school fees and endowments. This ceased and prevented students from enrolling into Catholic schools due to the inability of paying expensive fees.


Catholic schools are very distinctive from their public school counterparts in that they aim to focus on the development of individuals as practitioners of the Catholic faith. The leaders, teachers and students are required to focus on four fundamental rules initiated by the Church and school. This includes the Catholic identity of the school, education in regards to life and faith, celebration of life and faith, and action and social justice.

Religious education

The Religious Education
Religious Education
Religious Education is the term given to education concerned with religion. It may refer to education provided by a church or religious organization, for instruction in doctrine and faith, or for education in various aspects of religion, but without explicitly religious or moral aims, e.g. in a...

 as a core subject is a vital element of the curriculum where individuals are to develop themselves: “intellectually, physically, socially, emotionally and of course, spiritually.” The education also involves: “the distinct but complementary aspect of the school's religious dimension of liturgical and prayer life of the school community.” In Catholic schools, teachers teach a Religious Education Program provided by the Bishop. Both teacher and Bishop therefore, contribute to the planning and teaching Religious Education Lessons.


In India, Catholic educational institutions are second in numbers behind government run schools. There are 14,539. The term is used in matrimonial advertisements as "Convent educated bride" and "Jesuit college educated groom". While the schools are centrally tracked by the Catholic Bishops Council of India, they are controlled by the diocese in which they are located. Jesuits have played a very important role in education.

There are 13,004 primary and secondary Catholic schools. There are 243 special schools. There are 448 Catholic colleges. There are 534 formal technical institutions. There are 310 non-formal educational institutions.


In the Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

, many private schools have been operated by the Catholic Church since the time of Spanish colonization. The Philippines is one of only two predominant Roman Catholic nations in Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia, South-East Asia, South East Asia or Southeastern Asia is a subregion of Asia, consisting of the countries that are geographically south of China, east of India, west of New Guinea and north of Australia. The region lies on the intersection of geological plates, with heavy seismic...

, with a 2004 study by UNESCO
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations...

 indicating that 83% of the population as identifying themselves as Catholics. The oldest existing university in Asia can in fact be found in the Philippines known as the University of Santo Tomas
University of Santo Tomas
The Pontifical and Royal University of Santo Tomas, The Catholic University of the Philippines , is a private Roman Catholic university run by the Order of Preachers in Manila. Founded on April 28, 1611 by archbishop of Manila Miguel de Benavides, it has the oldest extant university charter in the...

 and today acts as the largest single Catholic University in the world. The University was established by the Order of Preachers, also known as the Dominican Order, on April 28, 1611 and is much older than the United States Harvard University
Harvard University
Harvard University is a private Ivy League university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States, established in 1636 by the Massachusetts legislature. Harvard is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and the first corporation chartered in the country...



Catholic schools in Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

 are state-aided, rather than state owned. Not all costs of operating, building and maintenance is provided by the central government. Local catholic communities raise funds, as well. Catholics perform volunteer work, for example, on Boards of Management, and as Managers. This spares the state expense and resources. Despite criticism of Church control of the school system by some, there is evidence that the majority of teachers in Catholic schools have great regard for the structures and supports of teaching in a catholic school.

The church groups in Ireland privately own most of all primary and secondary schools. Evidence indicates that approximately 60% of Secondary schools pupils attend schools owned by religious congregations.

England and Wales

In England and Wales, Catholic schools are either independent or voluntary aided, with the funding divided between the state and the Catholic Education Service
Catholic Education Service
The Catholic Education Service is an agency of the Bishops Conference of England and Wales and a member of the Bishops’ Department for Catholic Education and Formation. CESEW’s mission is to promote and support Catholic education...

. The service provides education for approximately 840,000 pupils each year through its 2,300 schools. In addition, some 130 independent schools have a Catholic character. The Catholic Education Service
Catholic Education Service
The Catholic Education Service is an agency of the Bishops Conference of England and Wales and a member of the Bishops’ Department for Catholic Education and Formation. CESEW’s mission is to promote and support Catholic education...

 in their website indicates that they interact on behalf of all bishops with the government, and other national bodies on legal, administrative, and religious education matters. This as their website indicates is to: “promote Catholic interests in education; safeguard Catholic interests in education; and, contribute to Christian perspectives within educational debate at national level.” There have been considerable changes to the way the money has been collected to the support of Catholic schools. The money towards the Catholic community in regards to building and supporting schools has risen from 50% to 90% in both England and Wales. In 2009, Catholic schools in England comprised two-thirds of all religious secondary schools.

Northern Ireland

The Council for Catholic Maintained Schools
Council for Catholic Maintained Schools
The Council for Catholic Maintained Schools is the advocate for the Catholic Maintained Schools sector in Northern Ireland. CCMS represents trustees, schools and governors on issues such as raising and maintaining standards, the school estate and teacher employment...

 (CCMS) is the advocate for the Catholic Maintained Schools sector in Northern Ireland. CCMS represents trustees, schools and governors on issues such as raising and maintaining standards, the schools estate and teacher employment. As the largest employer of teachers in Northern Ireland (8500 teachers), CCMS plays a central role in supporting teachers whether it is through its welfare service or, for example, in working parties such as the Independent Inquiry into Teacher Pay and Conditions of Service. According to the latest figures from Department of Education, N.I. Statistics Branch 2006/2007, the number of pupils registered at school in Northern Ireland is 329,583. The number of pupils attending Catholic managed schools is 148,225.

Latin America

The vast majority of Latin Americans
Latin Americans
Latin Americans are the citizens of the Latin American countries and dependencies. Latin American countries are multi-ethnic, home to people of different ethnic and national backgrounds. As a result, some Latin Americans don't take their nationality as an ethnicity, but identify themselves with...

 are Christians, mostly Roman Catholics. It is indicated that 83% of the Latin American population consider themselves Catholic. Catholic educational practices were brought to the indigenous
Indigenous peoples
Indigenous peoples are ethnic groups that are defined as indigenous according to one of the various definitions of the term, there is no universally accepted definition but most of which carry connotations of being the "original inhabitants" of a territory....

 population of the Maya, Inca and Aztec by Spaniards, Portuguese and European cultures. The neoliberal political reforms by Milton Friedman
Milton Friedman
Milton Friedman was an American economist, statistician, academic, and author who taught at the University of Chicago for more than three decades...

, from 1990-2010 further challenged Catholic schools in Latin America. Anticlericalism was established in the 19th century resulting to a temporary alienation between church and state. The 20th century, however has seen political powers seek to harness the continuing popular influence of the church in support of authoritarian regimes, including military dictatorships.

United States

Catholic schools are the largest non-public school system in the USA. Catholicism
Catholicism is a broad term for the body of the Catholic faith, its theologies and doctrines, its liturgical, ethical, spiritual, and behavioral characteristics, as well as a religious people as a whole....

 of schools in the United States was first established during the nineteenth century with the arrival of English immigrants. Catholic schools in the USA are significant in that Catholicism is seen to have been critical in developing the American culture. The development and enrollment of Americans into Catholic schools increased after World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, Post-war
A post-war period or postwar period is the interval immediately following the ending of a war and enduring as long as war does not resume. A post-war period can become an interwar period or interbellum when a war between the same parties resumes at a later date...

 development and Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

 in the battle against anti-religious Communism
Communism is a social, political and economic ideology that aims at the establishment of a classless, moneyless, revolutionary and stateless socialist society structured upon common ownership of the means of production...

. By the time of 1964-1965, 89% of students attended Catholic schools in Catholic private schools, the largest Catholic attendance ever seen in the history of the United States. Since then, there has been a large decline in the amount of enrollment in Catholic schools, predominantly believed to be due to suburbanization
Suburbanization a term used to describe the growth of areas on the fringes of major cities. It is one of the many causes of the increase in urban sprawl. Many residents of metropolitan regions work within the central urban area, choosing instead to live in satellite communities called suburbs...

, liberalization
In general, liberalization refers to a relaxation of previous government restrictions, usually in areas of social or economic policy. In some contexts this process or concept is often, but not always, referred to as deregulation...

 of education and the rise of the Catholic middle-class.”
In the United States, Catholic schools are also accredited by independent and/or state agencies, and teachers are generally certified. Schools are supported through tuition payments and fund raising charities.

In contrast to its public school counter-parts, Catholic urbanization
Urbanization, urbanisation or urban drift is the physical growth of urban areas as a result of global change. The United Nations projected that half of the world's population would live in urban areas at the end of 2008....

 have made more significant achievements in poor areas than wealthier areas. Holy Angels, for example has become one of the strongest academic institutions in the country; it serves the Kenwood
Kenwood, Chicago
Kenwood, located on the South Side of the City of Chicago, Illinois, is one of the 77 well-defined Chicago community areas.Kenwood was part of Hyde Park Township, which was annexed by the City of Chicago in 1889....

, Oakland
Oakland, Chicago
Oakland, located on the South Side of Chicago, Illinois, USA, is one of 77 officially designated Chicago community areas. Some of Chicago's great old homes maybe seen on Drexell Boulvard. 19th century women's rights and Jewish activist Hannah Greenebaum lived in Oakland. The late 19th century...

 neighborhoods of South Side Chicago, Illinois
Illinois is the fifth-most populous state of the United States of America, and is often noted for being a microcosm of the entire country. With Chicago in the northeast, small industrial cities and great agricultural productivity in central and northern Illinois, and natural resources like coal,...

, where 3 out of 4 people live in poverty
Poverty is the lack of a certain amount of material possessions or money. Absolute poverty or destitution is inability to afford basic human needs, which commonly includes clean and fresh water, nutrition, health care, education, clothing and shelter. About 1.7 billion people are estimated to live...

 and violent crime
Violent crime
A violent crime or crime of violence is a crime in which the offender uses or threatens to use violent force upon the victim. This entails both crimes in which the violent act is the objective, such as murder, as well as crimes in which violence is the means to an end, such as robbery. Violent...

 is frequent.


In Australia, Catholic schools have been operating for over 175 years.The arrival of the first fleet brought the first Irish Catholics to Australia, predominantly by the transport of convicts. Catholics consisted one-tenth of the convicts settling in Australia, mostly Irish whilst the rest were English and Scottish. By 1803, 2086 convicts of Irish descent and majority being Catholics had been transported to Botany Bay.

Catholic schools are the largest group of non-government schools in Australia accounting for some 18% of institutions (1705 of 9529 as of 2009), compared to 11% for independent schools (1022). Catholic schools are those run by the diocesan Catholic Department of Education; some independent schools are owned and run by Catholic religious orders. In addition, there is at least one school operating within the Society of St Pius X, Catholic traditionalists in irregular canonical status with Rome (Their current canonical status is being resolved in Rome presently): St Thomas Aquinas College in Tynong, Victoria
Tynong, Victoria
Tynong is a town in Gippsland, Victoria, Australia, 66 km south-east from Melbourne's central business district. Its Local Government Area is the Shire of Cardinia...


As with other classes of non-government schools in Australia, Catholic schools receive funding from the Commonwealth Government. As this does not constitute the establishment of a church, nor the restriction of the free exercise of religion, nor does it create a religious test for public office, it is not considered to breach the separation of Church and State in Australia. This was the decision of the High Court in the Defence of Government Schools (DOGS) case of 1981, in which the judges selectively interpreted s.116 of the Australian Constitution, and is controversial.

New Zealand

Catholic education in New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

 was first introduced following the arrival of the first Catholic Bishop, Jean Baptiste Pompallier
Jean Baptiste Pompallier
Jean Baptiste François Pompallier was the first vicar apostolic to visit New Zealand. He was born in Lyon, France. He became the first Roman Catholic Bishop of Auckland.-Appointment and voyage:...

 in 1838. A year after signing the Treaty of Waitangi
Treaty of Waitangi
The Treaty of Waitangi is a treaty first signed on 6 February 1840 by representatives of the British Crown and various Māori chiefs from the North Island of New Zealand....

, the first Catholic school in New Zealand was developed in Auckland
The Auckland metropolitan area , in the North Island of New Zealand, is the largest and most populous urban area in the country with residents, percent of the country's population. Auckland also has the largest Polynesian population of any city in the world...

 on 1841.

The schools were originally managed by seven sisters from Ireland and aimed to assist the Maori population and the new settlers. From 1853 to 1875, the provincial governments financed grants for the Catholic schools. The Education Act 1877 however, allowed all schools to be free, compulsory and secular, and therefore disallowing funding of Catholic schools. It was only after the passing of the Private Schools Conditional Integration Act (1975) legislation in which Catholic schools were integrated with the State education system with the State being able to assist in operating Catholic schools.

As of 2005, 9% of the total population in New Zealand attended Catholic schools. The majority are New Zealand Europeans however, it is believed to be increasingly becoming multicultural.

The Catholic schools are owned by a proprietor, typically by the Bishop of the diocese. Currently, Catholic schools in New Zealand are termed 'integrated schools' for funding purposes. Effectively, this means that teachers' salaries and learning materials are publicly funded, but the school property is not. New Zealand Catholic schools are built on land owned by the diocese; if the government were to fund Catholic school property maintenance, it would be transferring wealth to the bishop, breaking the separation of church and state.

State funding

In some countries, Catholic schools are funded by the state. These are institutions that requires assistance from the government. This is the same in public schools where government who mandate schools pay for the needs of schools whether in whole or in part, by taxes of the population. Australian catholic schools fall under this category, where the Australian government fund Catholic schools as well as state schools. Non-independent catholic schools in Scotland is another example where the institutions are fully funded by the Scottish Government.

Private schools

Private schools, also known as independent schools are not managed by local, state or national governments. They instead may select their students and are funded in whole or in part by the tuition fees charged to students, rather than relying on the government as public schools do. Students may also get scholarships to enter into a private school depending on the student’s talent.

Voluntary aided schools

Voluntary aided schools are a kind of "maintained school", meaning that they receive all their running costs from central government via the local authority, and do not charge fees to students. In contrast to other types of maintained school, only 90% of the capital costs of a voluntary aided school are met by government. The foundation contributes the rest of the capital costs, owns the school's land and buildings and appoints a majority of the school governors. The governing body runs the school, employs the staff and decides the school's admission arrangements, subject to rules imposed by central government. Pupils follow the National Curriculum, except that faith schools may teach Religious Education according to their own faith. Within the maintained sector in England, approximately 22% of primary schools and 17% of secondary schools are voluntary aided, including all of the Roman Catholic schools and the schools of non-Christian faiths.

Preference for the poor

Catholic schools have experienced changes heralded by the Second Vatican Council
Second Vatican Council
The Second Vatican Council addressed relations between the Roman Catholic Church and the modern world. It was the twenty-first Ecumenical Council of the Catholic Church and the second to be held at St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican. It opened under Pope John XXIII on 11 October 1962 and closed...

 in regards to Catholic social teaching cantered on the poor: “First and Foremost, the Church offers its educational services to the poor, or those who are deprived of family help and affection or those who are far from faith...” These changes have led to instances in Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

, Peru
Peru , officially the Republic of Peru , is a country in western South America. It is bordered on the north by Ecuador and Colombia, on the east by Brazil, on the southeast by Bolivia, on the south by Chile, and on the west by the Pacific Ocean....

 and Chile
Chile ,officially the Republic of Chile , is a country in South America occupying a long, narrow coastal strip between the Andes mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far...

 where the contributions has led to “a new way of being in school,” by including the disadvantaged and people in poor areas to education.

High attendance and performance

Empirical evidence in the United States and Australia indicates that education performance and attendance are greater in Catholic schools in contrasts to its public counter-parts. Evans and Schwab (1998) in their experiment found that attendance at Catholic schools in the United States increases the probability of completing high school or commencing college by 13%. Similarly, an experiment conducted by Williams and Carpenter (1990) of Australia through comparing previous examination by private and public schools concluded that students in private education outperform those from government schools on all educational, social and economic indicators.

Development of girls in society

Catholic schooling has indicated a large impact in the changing role of women for countries such as Malta
Malta , officially known as the Republic of Malta , is a Southern European country consisting of an archipelago situated in the centre of the Mediterranean, south of Sicily, east of Tunisia and north of Libya, with Gibraltar to the west and Alexandria to the east.Malta covers just over in...

 and Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

. Catholic schooling of girls in Malta, for example indicates: “...evidence of remarkable commitment to the full development of girls in a global society.” Similarly, all girl schools in Japan have also contributed powerfully to the “personal and educational patriarchal society”.

Economic inequality

The expensive cost and necessity to obtain high salary levels is contributing to the difficulty of maintain Catholic schools. This is especially a challenge for the Church’s commitment of the “preferential education for the poor.” Many Catholic schools in the United States in inner America which has traditionally served the most in are continuously being forced to close at an increasing rate. This may be seen as contradicting the Catholic schools principles as it does not live up to its reality. The preferential services to the poor serves a problem when there is a clear distinction that wealthier Catholic schools receive better resources and are more privileged than those in areas of low-income. This today is being experienced in Latin America and other national settings where financial constraints in serving the poor is not being undertaken as state aid or subsidy are not being available to the Catholic schools.

Political context

There has been instances where some political ideologies that are engaged with secularism
Secularism is the principle of separation between government institutions and the persons mandated to represent the State from religious institutions and religious dignitaries...

 or countries that have high nationalism
Nationalism is a political ideology that involves a strong identification of a group of individuals with a political entity defined in national terms, i.e. a nation. In the 'modernist' image of the nation, it is nationalism that creates national identity. There are various definitions for what...

 are suspicious of what Catholic schools are teaching. The moral and social teachings by Catholic schools may be seen as “continuation of Colonial cultural dominance of the society,” still being felt in countries of Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

, Zambia
Zambia , officially the Republic of Zambia, is a landlocked country in Southern Africa. The neighbouring countries are the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the north, Tanzania to the north-east, Malawi to the east, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia to the south, and Angola to the west....

 and Malawi
The Republic of Malawi is a landlocked country in southeast Africa that was formerly known as Nyasaland. It is bordered by Zambia to the northwest, Tanzania to the northeast, and Mozambique on the east, south and west. The country is separated from Tanzania and Mozambique by Lake Malawi. Its size...


See also

  • :Category:Roman Catholic schools by country
  • :Category:Roman Catholic schools by region (continent)
  • Christian school
    Christian school
    A Christian school is a school run on Christian principles or by a Christian organization.The nature of Christian schools varies enormously from country to country, according to the religious, educational, and political cultures...

  • National Catholic Educational Association
    National Catholic Educational Association
    The National Catholic Educational Association is a private professional educational association of over 200,000 educators in Catholic schools, universities, and religious education programs...

  • Parochial school
    Parochial school
    A parochial school is a school that provides religious education in addition to conventional education. In a narrower sense, a parochial school is a Christian grammar school or high school which is part of, and run by, a parish.-United Kingdom:...

External links

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