Church Unhappy With School Funding Bill

By , 04 Dec 2017, 12:46 PM News
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New bill on private education financing drafted, opposition obstructs the session. 

December 4, 2017

The National Assembly’s Education Committee’s new bill on public funding of privately run elementary schools is ready to enter the National Assembly’s discussion. After the bill passed the Committee’s vote, members of the opposition obstructed the remaining part of the session.

The new bill splits the publicly accredited programmes in two parts, mandatory and additional, and only guarantees 100% public funding to the first, mandatory part. This means that public funding of private schools would decrease, as current legislation grants them funding of the entire program up to 85% of the funding public schools receive per pupil.

The current legislation was declared unconstitutional three years ago when the Constitutional Court ruled that private schools should receive the same amount of funding per pupil as public ones. The National Assembly’s Education Committee had been working on an amendment to Article 86 of the Organisation and Financing of Education Act until the end of October this year, when it decided to opt for a constitutional change instead.

While the amendment to the constitutional Article 57 now has to pass the Constitutional Commission of the Assembly, the National Assembly’s Education Committee has drafted a new bill, which is to be passed in a context of new constitutional article, and that will clearly differentiate between private and public education.

Complications are expected, however, as unofficially the word is out that the proponents of the constitutional change have failed to have secured a majority in the Constitutional Commission of the Assembly.

A notable party of interest in the debate is the Catholic Church, which in a press conference last Thursday expressed its views on constitutional change as “undemocratic,” and stressed the importance of Catholic schools in “preparing the new generations for cultivation.”

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