‘Urgent need’ to tackle Catholic ethos decline among younger teachers

There is an urgent need for a co-ordinated response to the decline in young teachers’ commitment to teaching the Catholic faith, according to a leading educationalist.

Addressing the annual meeting of the Joint Managerial Body, the umbrella organisation for faith-based secondary schools in Ireland, Professor Eamonn Conway of the University of Notre Dame Australia said that three out of ten teachers under 29 years of age report not “witnessing” to Catholic ethos at all or doing so only to a limited extent.

This, he said, requires a “whole sector approach across primary, secondary and tertiary levels to re-position Catholic education confidently”.

“A surprising number of teachers are still open to an intelligent articulation of the Catholic faith but need to be provided with attractive opportunities both for personal spiritual formation as well as continuing professional development.”

Professor Conway, who is also a priest, said teachers are increasingly experiencing work overload and burnout, and which he said is evidence of a “technocratic paradigm”.

This, “devalues human beings, sees only technocratic solutions to every difficulty and must be resisted above all in Catholic educational contexts.”