Dublin, Ireland, Apr 3, 2018 / 21:58 pm
A proposed policy in Ireland that would ban Catholic schools from prioritizing Catholic students on wait lists is being criticized as discriminatory, since it would not apply to other religious schools.
Faith in Our Schools, a newly-formed Irish group, says the proposal “openly discriminates against the conscience and educational rights of Catholic parents” and the “religious, autonomy, and associational rights of Catholic faith schools,” according to the Irish Times.
In Ireland, the Catholic Church runs more than 90 percent of schools, which also receive government funds.
When a religious school is full, the admission process to determine which students will move off the waiting list currently can take religion into account.
However, Richard Bruton, Ireland’s education minister, is expected to soon announce plans to make legal changes to remove what is called the “baptism-barrier.”
Bruton has said that it is “unfair that preference is given by publicly-funded religious schools to children of their own religion who might live some distance away, ahead of children of a different religion or of no religion who live close to the school,” according to the Irish Times.
The proposed policy would only apply to Catholic schools, however. Bruton has said that minority faiths, such as the Church of Ireland, will be able to continue to use religion in the admission process for their schools.
The American Chamber of Commerce Ireland - which represents Facebook, Google, and some 700 other U.S. companies - has advocated in support of the removing the “baptism barrier.”