Government funding of Catholic schools in public’s interest: De Groof

Jan de Groof

Government should fund Catholic and independent schools to ensure a robust and accountable democracy, according to an international law and education expert.

The debate over who is responsible for facilitating private education will be one of the topics discussed by international scholars in education and the law at this month’s Freedom, Autonomy and Responsibility Conference at Australian Catholic University’s (ACU) North Sydney Campus.

Global Education Law Forum President Professor Jan De Groof has dedicated his career to human rights law, education and governance.

The Belgian founder and president of the European Association for Education Law and Policy cited the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to argue that robust, ethical, credible and accountable independent schools are vital for democracy.

“The state has to facilitate and support in financial terms reliable, credible non-state initiatives. It’s in the public interest,” he said.

“State monopolies in education always lead to secularism and a more divided society. For social equality and respect for cultural identity, there is a core obligation for the states to support diversity through Catholic schools.”

The theme of the three-day (22-24 May) conference is ‘Finding the balance in Catholic education and the law in a global context’.

The conference will be hosted by ACU in close collaboration with the Holy See’s Congregation for Catholic Education and in partnership with the Kellogg Institute for International Studies and the Institute for Educational Initiatives, University of Notre Dame (USA); and the European Association for Education Law and Policy.

Speakers include ACU Vice-Chancellor Professor Greg Craven, Fr Friedrich Bechina FSO – Undersecretary, Congregation for Catholic Education, Professor Paolo G. Carozza – Professor of Law and Concurrent Professor of Political Science, University of Notre Dame (USA), and Professor Jan De Groof – President of the Global Education Law Forum and the European Education Law & Policy Association and Professor at Europacollege (Bruges) and Tilburg University.

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For more information, or to register, visit the conference website.

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