Catholic schools in South Africa are owned either by religious teaching congregations (such as the Dominican Sisters, the Marist Brothers, the Assumption Sisters, the Mercy Sisters, the Christian Brothers and many others) or by local bishops (those owned by bishops are known as ‘diocesan schools’). After 1994 it was necessary for these owners to negotiate with the new government to ensure that Catholic schools designated as state-aided under the old government were covered in the new Education Act. National and provincial negotiating teams were formed and from these the Catholic Schools Proprietors Association (CaSPA) was formed.
The authority and responsibility for developing and sustaining Catholic education lies with CaSPA.
Collectively, CaSPA owns 344 schools in all provinces which educate over 160 000 learners from Grade R to Grade 12. The majority of schools are located in the rural areas of KwaZulu Natal and the Eastern Cape.
CaSPA meets biennially to set direction and plan for Catholic education in South Africa .
In addition to National CaSPA, there are also regional CaSPAs. The executive of CaSPA consists of the Chairperson, the Vice-chairperson and provincial representatives.
Changing realities necessitate a new partnership between religious and laity
With dwindling numbers of sisters and brothers from religious congregations teaching, or even able to have a hands-on presence, in Catholic schools, there was a need for religious congregations to establish a guardianship with the laity that would ensure both the preservation of what they had built up and the continuance and the development of Catholic Education. These concerns were the impetus behind the establishment of the Catholic Schools Board (CSB).
After four years of discussions, prayer, planning and meetings, the Regional Leaders of the Religious Congregations in the Gauteng Province established the Catholic Schools Board for the dioceses of Pretoria and Johannesburg .
The first Annual General Meeting of the Catholic Schools Board was held at Cathedral Place in Johannesburg on 2 December 2002.
At a series of subsequent meetings during 2003, the CSB discussed with schools the challenges ahead and sought their support in what they were trying to set up for the future benefit of Catholic Education.
Schools were asked to give financial support for a Catholic Schools Office which would be an amalgamation of the existing structures in the two dioceses and be the "operational arm" of the Catholic Schools Board. This was not easy for some schools who were engaged in their own struggles for survival. Other schools, who were already paying heavy membership dues to other schools' associations, raised questions about what the Catholic Schools Board and Catholic Schools Office could offer them.
With acknowledgement and understanding of what was at stake - the continued existence of all Catholic schools nationally, and the guardianship of their distinctive ethos and identity - doubts were put aside and schools accepted the challenges ahead by giving their wholehearted support to the Catholic Schools Board.
Members of the Catholic Schools Board (Gauteng Province):
Like the Board of a school, the Catholic Schools Board only comes together a number of times a year for its meetings and at other times its members pursue their normal occupations.
Download the Constitution of the Catholic Schools Board.
Provision was made for the execution of the CSB’s decisions by establishing the Catholic Schools Office (CSO). At a series of meetings during 2003, the CSB discussed with schools the challenges ahead and sought the schools’ support in what the CSB was trying to set up for the future benefit of Catholic Education. Schools were asked to give financial support for a Catholic Schools Office which would amalgamate the existing structures in the two dioceses (inter alia, JOCASCO and the CCE in Pretoria ) and be the "operational arm" of the Catholic Schools Board.
The Catholic Schools Office (CSO) of the Archdiocese of Pretoria and the Diocese of Johannesburg carries out the directives of the Catholic Schools Boards in member schools.
The main concerns of the CSO are that:
To assist schools in these endeavours, the CSO offers various support services and employs five full-time staff. The Catholic Schools Office operates an office located at The Haven at St Vincent School for the Deaf in Melrose , and a satellite office at Jolivet House, the archdiocesan chancery in Pretoria.
Find out more about the Catholic Schools Office.
The Catholic Schools Councils – there is a CSC in Pretoria and another in Johannesburg - provide a forum for staff from member schools to come together for fellowship, to grow professionally, to collaborate on matters of common interest and to seek unity of vision.
Sub-groups within the CSCs organise events, meetings and workshops which cater for the particular needs of their members. A sub-group – principals, board members, teachers, RE teachers, pre-school teachers, ancillary staff, learners, parents - may or may not exist from year to year as needs and circumstances dictate.
Each sub-group elects a representative to the CSC Executive. The Executive co-ordinates the activities of the CSC. The Chairperson of the CSC Executive represents the CSC on the Catholic Schools Board.
Find out more about the Catholic Schools Councils.
Catholic schools in South Africa mirror the severe disparities in the provision and quality of education apparent amongst all South African schools. To help heal and correct these disparities, in 1985 the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference established the Catholic Institute of Education (CIE).
Tasks given to the CIE at its inception included the provision of in-service training and support to Catholic schools across South Africa , the formation of Religious Education teachers, and the production of relevant and appropriate learning materials for teachers.
As the CIE has grown it has opened offices in several parts of the country and has extended the scope of its operations to include the development and implementation of educational policy, the clarification of the identity of Catholic schools, the building of capacity through strengthening local leadership, and the provision of co-ordination services to the Catholic education network (especially in areas where Catholic Schools Offices do not yet exist).
The CIE group includes the CIE National Schools Office, the CIE Centre for School Quality and Improvement and the CIE Education Services.
The CIE National Schools Office (NSO) provides support and co-ordination services to all Catholic schools and structures in the Catholic education network. The NSO’s core activities include:
A number of other projects, including literacy and numeracy training, are undertaken with donor funding. Providing access to education for orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) is an increasingly important project.
The CIE Centre for School Quality and Improvement (CSQI) promotes school quality improvement in Catholic Schools through training, support services and whole-school evaluations. The CSQI also provides services to provincial education departments and public and independent schools.
CIE Education Services designs and delivers training programmes and services, publishes resources and offers a consultancy targeted at improving school and education quality.
CIE contact details ( Johannesburg office):
Federation Of Past-Pupils Or Former Students Of Catholic Schools Or Catholic Education In South Africa, NPC
FEPCASA / FAECAS
Are you one of those people who passed through a Catholic School at one time in your life anywhere in the country or outside South Africa and you live in South Africa? Or are you a friend, a sympathize, a potential supporter? If yes, then consider joining FEPCASA/FAECAS. You may join us as an individual, an association, NPO/NGO or as a micro, small or medium company. Visit www.faecas.org for more information.
Mr. Polydor Lokombe Sungu
Telephone: +27(0)845508481, +27(0)735453101, Fax: +27(0)866500635
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With decreasing numbers of sisters and brothers from religious congregations able to have a hands-on presence in Catholic schools, there was a need to establish a guardianship to preserve and continue the development of Catholic Education.
The Catholic Schools Councils provide a forum for staff from member schools to come together for fellowship, to grow professionally, to collaborate on matters of common interest and to seek unity of vision.
The Haven, St Vincent School for the Deaf
PO Box 2635, Saxonwold, 2132
011 447 9219/9211
086 568 4479
140 Visagie Street
PO Box 8149, Pretoria, 0001
012 321 2094