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Blazing A Trail

Catholic Education in Victoria 19631980


From 19631980, Catholic education in Victoria underwent a period of unprecedented change which transformed it from a highly dispersed group of schools on the verge of collapse to a fully articulated system, dynamic and focused.Ecclesiastical, governmental, educational and sociological forces underpinned developments and tensions. Two new partners emerged: political parties and the Catholic laity. The call from the Second Vatican Council (196265) for renewal in the Catholic Church led to the conflicts, confusions and frustrations usually associated with profound change. Authority was challenged and catechetical debates abounded.The necessity for government funding led to debates and factionalism within the church and gave rise to alignments based on political and social ideology.

In 1973 the commonwealth Labor government accepted the report of the Karmel Committee which recommended a huge increase in funding for all schools. The very existence of Catholic schools in Australia was threatened by fierce opposition to the implementation of the Karmel Report from anti-Labor forces. Crucial to the successful resolution of multiple problems was a close and persistent collaboration among the stakeholders. Commitment to the principle of maximising local autonomy, together with 'block' funding, emerged as foundational components in the restructuring process.

Eventually strong leadership, a small but professionalised Catholic Education Office of Victoria secretariat and an inclusive state-wide body neutralised the dissidents.

By the end of the period, responsibility fro the administration and conduct of Catholic schools was largely the domain of the laity, and the implementation of uniform conditions and portability of service for teachers across Victoria had begun. An identifiable system had been established with a balance of centralised services and decentralised responsibilities.

This book draws on primary documents and interviews with key players in these events to tell the story of this exciting period in the development of the Catholic Church in Victoria. What is reveals has importance as we enter the twenty-first century where the church and Catholic schools will be confronted with undreamed-of challenges which will demand visionary leadership.
Blazing A Trail
ISBN: 1863550747
$ 27.95


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