Studies of Religion Education Pre 1945
The Contribution of Christianity to the provision of education Pre 1945 Australia There were many significant people that played a vital role in the contribution of education in Australia, due to their recognition, influence and determination during the 1830’s, the church has successfully created a well structured society that has continued to our present day. Father Therry In the 1830’s Governor Bourke attempted to set up an educational system that was intended to brake down denominational barriers, unfortunately he was unsuccessful.
Eventually a secular system of education was established, Public schools which were run by the government and another stemmed from the four major churches. Attempts to start a state educational system was developed in 1833 when government money was provided for the church based schools under the legislation of the church Acts, at this time there were ten catholic schools in the state. The first two Catholic schools found in Australia were established by Father Therry in 1821-1822.
Therry played a very important role in the history of education as he challenged the government to pay support for these church schools with his determination and loyalty to the church.
His movement was very successful as during the 1830’s he bought attention to the importance of education to society. Families began encouraging religious and general education and there for were eager to support money and labour to these catholic schools, which in result alerted the government of the importance of education and in 1833 the funding began.
Only three years later in 1836 The Church Act was introduced, this provided a more general support system for religion and education as money was provided depending on the population of each church. This government funding unfortunately came to an end in 1862 when the states lost confidence and insisted on a secular society separate from the churches. Despite this refusal the Catholic church continued to put in hours and labour to keep these schools running and continued the growth of the church based schools.
It was a result of the Catholic church’s determination that kept this system going to this present day, statistics show that the percentage of children’s literacy rates increased by 50-90% within the years of 1860-1900’s.
During the 1860’s and 1870’s the influence from the catholic churches alerted the government once again. Campaigns were held for the government to decide the importance of education and it was decided that education was vital to the moral welfare of society.
Due to their strong belief in the ‘secular society’, the government decided to introduce a fully secular system of education through state schools. This was incredibly successful for the government, and laws for free and secular education began to be passed through the states. Between 1872 and 1893, every State passed an Education Act removing state aid to Church schools.
This was a turning point for Catholic schools and, indeed, for the Catholic community in Australia. This created another huge issue for religious schools and left them to fend for themselves with no state money for support.
Catholic education offices were established to oversee the general administration of schools and soon enough nuns, priests and teachers dedicated themselves to teaching. The Catholic church continued to go about establishing and paying for its own schools in order to preserve its religious heritage. “Let parents send their children, when of fit age, exclusively to Catholic schools. Let them regard all other schools as no places for their children, who have to learn before everything else to save their souls…” -Australian Catholic Bishops’ Pastrol Letter 1879
This quote is significant to the importance of education as it points to the spiritual beliefs of the catholic church that religion is just as important as the intellectual system of education that is offered.
There belief that ‘saving their souls’ is of great importance and should be prioritized. It also points to the intellectual elements that are offered at the catholic schools as well as the physical elements of the people. It is encouraging people to choose catholic schools over government schools and equipping the individual to then take up their position in society to contribute to the welfare of Australia.
The establishment of education holds a great importance to the history of Australia as the majority of Australia’s Prime ministers were educated in these schools. The contribution of these prime ministers have been astonishing and had a great impact with Australia’s welfare.
Therefore the establishment of these church based schools unravelled the successful structure of Australia’s future nation at that time. During the years prior to 1945 there were many denominations from the four major churches that developed schools around Australia, which continue as significant independent schools today.
By the end of the eighteenth century an impressive number of Catholic schools were located in every colony. As a result of their efforts, today Catholic education system is the most extensive non-government education system in Australia and is of a HUGE importance to our economic structure. BIBLIOGRAPHY: Pearson Books: * Living Religion fourth edition * Studies of religion Thomas social science press.
* Oxford Studies of religion Preliminary and HSC coarse * Cambridge studies of religion stage 6, Harthey + Hoble Internet