.- The Catholic bishops of Northern Ireland say proposed changes to the state’s education plan would "radically undermine" the Catholic education system and "pose a serious threat to the right of parents to choose a Catholic education."
The bishops were responding to detailed draft documents regarding the government’s plan to close some under attended schools and restructure the administration of educational facilities in Northern Ireland.
According to a BBC report, the changes include removing powers from the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools. In addition, the bishops said their power to influence their own schools would be diminished due to the required handing over of powers to a new Education and Skills Authority and to the Department of Education
"The proposals will radically undermine a long-cherished Catholic education system which has been recognized for the strength of its distinctiveness and the richness of its tradition and diversity as contributing to the raising of school standards and the promotion of a culture of tolerance and understanding," they said.
The bishops said they’ve been glad to cooperate with the Education Department to promote quality education. "On this occasion, however, we feel compelled to say that we cannot in conscience commend these proposals to parents, teachers, and all involved in Catholic education," they said.