How Catholic are our Catholic Schools in Singapore?

A concerned mother wrote into the Catholic News last week to say that Catholic schools (SJI and CJC in her case) were not open to accepting her son. The archdiocese has recently appealed to parents to give their children a Catholic eduction. These schools are made up of a large population of non-catholics - should not these schools make extra efforts to allow a Catholic child in, she asks?

I have been extremely priveledged to study in the Catholic schools mentioned above. I do know that in recent years SJI and CJC have raised their cutoff points at the expense of letting the weaker Catholic students in. I believe that it was necessary to the extent that Catholic education in general needed a boost in prestige and quality; CJC did have a reputation for being a lousy college academically and SJI could not compete with the top independent schools. They also rationalise that there are a whole range of Catholics schools that cater to all types of students.

However, I am truly curious as to whether the other Catholic schools offer a proper Catholic education as well. I have heard rumours that some Catholic schools are not very Catholic at all, being run by secular principals and all. Maris stella and St. Patrick's seem to have something in place; what about the rest? Is anybody able to share on this?

1 comment:

irene said...

remembering SAC when i was there...

they had morning prayers which everyone had to take part in. and mass during special occasion like founderess's day.

they had religious education where the catholics would go for special cathecism class while non-catholics attend a class to introduce them to catholic faith (just bible stories i think. i only attended once when my cathecism teacher was absent). but religious education kinda died off as i entered upper sec. i remember upper sec, there was no longer special cathecism. everyone was in the class together and it was quite a generalised programme. i think sr jo taught us. it was more of pastoral care rather than religious education. (if i remember correctly)

there was fellowship every thursday morning for catholics during the assembly period. it wasn't compulsory but i remember going just to escape chinese reading session. well, they had stuff like praise n worship, talks.

when sr cecily was principal, she would show up before any event, eg exams, performances, and say a prayer with us. now and then, she'd do bible sharing during assembly.

the chapel was open and readily available for students to go as a place of refuge from the busy main school. month of may, the catholic activities council would have rosary sessions during recess, which only the same group (the leaders) attended year after year.

that was the SAC of my time, when sr cecily was around. i don't know what happened after she left and mrs loh took over. when mrs loh was still vp, she would do prayers and all

i don't know really if the programmes offered at SAC showed a proper catholic education. but i do know that after i left and entered a secular jc, my faith went totally downhill.

i guess, it's difficult for the top schools to actually juggle faith and academics. on the one hand, if they want to continue being a top school, they have to compromise with the non-catholic students who wish to enter but not be overwhelmed with a religious environment.

i think, in the education system, there should not be bias on the basis of religion. if a catholic child really wants to enter that specific catholic school, he should study hard and make sure he meets the grade. it's unfair to those non-catholic students who study hard and get better grades to be passed over for a catholic student with less academic prowess when competing for a place in a top catholic school.