Its 1,755 schools, with 38% in regional and remote communities, educate over 785,000 students and employ in excess of 100,000 staff across the nation.
In short, Catholic education is the single largest provider of schooling outside of government. So, with politicians on the campaign trail ahead of the May 21 federal election, it is the perfect time to see how committed the major parties are to supporting the Catholic education sector.
The National Catholic Education Commission (NCEC) has produced a major parties report card which indicates the responses of the Coalition Government, Labor and The Greens to several important Catholic education priorities. These are: supporting school choice, enabling faith-based education, capital funding, early childhood education, mental health and wellbeing, and support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.
The NCEC’s executive director Jacinta Collins said the parties’ responses in the report card, show the Liberal National Coalition and Labor are on par in meeting Catholic education’s priorities, particularly on school choice.
“We are fortunate that both major parties continue to support genuine school choice in Australian education and are committed to families who choose a Catholic education for their children,” Ms Collins said.
Responses from key independent candidates are also being evaluated.
The report card shows the Coalition and Labor receiving three and four stars out of five in most categories while The Greens’ managed between one and one-and-a-half stars in three categories. The ratings are based on responses to policy questions and public statements.