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Faith is just an added value: Burchell

January 18, 2019 12:48 pm
Permanent Secretary for Education Allison Burchell

The loggerhead between the Catholic Church and the Ministry of Education does not seem to be subsiding, with the Corpus Christi College now having its say.

This comes days after the head of the Catholic Church, Archbishop Father Peter Loy Chong urged the Education Ministry to appoint teachers of Catholic faith to be principals or head teachers of Catholic schools.

Corpus Christi Teacher’s College Principal Romesio Rogovakalali highlighted that under the provision of the Constitution, the Ministry have allowed religious groups to build schools and questioned the visibility of faith in the Education Ministry’s policies.

“What regulation and what structure has the government put in place to look after these schools, the religious education which is faith based and in the constitution its talks about faith based.”

In response, Permanent Secretary for Education, Allison Burchell says the religious instruction component is different from the issue of appointing the head of school

There is another power of the Constitution which talks about the Open Merit appointments and there is another power of the constitution that says we are a secular state and everyone goes a little bit hairy when I say that because it is usually in the context of faith based organization but the fact is that we are a secular state and we need to understand what that means in the way that we operate.

The Ministry says it will maintain the open merit system in its appointment and says if any school does not agree, they can look at going private.