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Survey says Catholic school parents don't care about religion

Religious education rates poorly among parents' reasons for sending their children to Catholic schools, according to a survey commissioned by the Toowoomba Catholic Education Board in Queensland.

The Catholic Leader reports that the survey revealed a startling difference between what parents are thinking and what, historically, Catholic schools believe motivates parents to enrol children in Catholic schools.

It collated the preferences of parents from Catholic (4844 parents), state (659) and independent schools (1357) - both primary and secondary - in Toowoomba and through south-west Queensland.

It found that criteria recorded as 'absolutely essential' for education sectors included quality teaching, care of students, school discipline, parent involvement, moral development and school philosophy.

Religion - religious education or faith tradition - did not rate as one of the key critical attributes.

The research showed Catholic school authorities needed to be clear about what their schools offered in terms of Church mission and an education related to that.

Executive director of Edmund Rice Education, Dr Bill Sultmann, contrasted the limited understanding of some parents with an immediate and unequivocal comment from another parent as to why Catholic schools might be a good choice.

"The mother said she believed in heroes motivating people," he said. "She said that Jesus was one of her heroes and that she wanted her girls to have some exposure to His story."

Religion not a factor (Catholic Leader 23/11/03)

Diocese of Toowoomba Catholic Education

20 Nov 2003