April 24, 2017

The religious test to be a teacher in Ireland's schools

More information about the Catholic Teaching Certificate here

I previously wrote a blog post 'Irish teachers must be Catholic missionaries', and I also wrote a post, 'Ireland's sectarian schools' here.

I want to explore this matter further...

Over 90% of the 3,200 primary schools in the republic of Ireland are under the patronage of the Catholic Church. This means that children sit in a Catholic religion class every day. In fact a minimum of 2½ hours is reserved in the primary school timetable each week for religious teaching and sacramental preparation. John Hamill, a committee member of Atheist Ireland, said:
"Religion permeates the day. Opting out isn’t an option"
Grace said to the Irish Times:
"The Catholic ethos is very obvious. When you walk in the main entrance one of the first things you see is the papal flag and a picture of Pope Francis. There are Catholic statues throughout the school."
In fact, to teach at a Catholic school you must be a Catholic, or at the very least, embrace Catholic thought, as atheist.ie highlighted:
"If you want to get a job as a teacher you have to accept that Irish school teachers must be Catholic missionaries. You must: 
(a) have a Catholic Certificate in Religious Studies, which has as a programme objective that the trainee teacher ‘engage in personal reflection, research and discourse with a view to enhancing their own religious awareness,’ and which includes such learning outcomes as ‘demonstrate competence in the planning of liturgy, prayer and sacraments (Reconciliation, Eucharist, Confirmation) in the Catholic primary school,’ and 
(b) uphold the religious ethos of the school, which the Catholic Church sees as a central part of the mission of the Church, and part of the commission given by the Risen Christ to the apostles in Mt 28:18: “Go, make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you.” 
Failing to comply with this religious discrimination will mean that your chances of gaining employment are slim, and that you can be dismissed if you fail to uphold the religious ethos of the patron.
Catholicbishops.ie wrote:
"For a teacher with an initial teacher education degree to be recognised to teach in a Catholic school they should have 120 contact hours* in the area of Religious Education, to include an exploration of Catechesis and Catholic Religious Education, (hours of Religious or Theological subjects, in the B.Ed. or other degree), and of Religious or Theological Studies (taken in an additional Certificate)."

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