The triennial gathering will bring together those involved in Catholic education in the broadest sense. This has been a regular opportunity to celebrate how far Catholic education has come in recent times.
This year the celebrations, in Wellington this week, will have greater significance, as four educational leaders in the Catholic network have received Queen’s honours this year while Catholic education celebrates 40 years since it’s schools were integrated into the state school system in an historic agreement with the Crown in 1975.
“Today we have 66,000 students in our 238 schools and an increasing number of adults in tertiary learning programmes, add to that 40 years of an integration relationship with the State and three people receiving honours for their contribution to education, so we have much to be grateful for.” Says Sir Br Pat Lynch, Chief Executive of NZ Catholic Education.
At the gathering an innovative portal created in partnership with Microsoft will be launched to provide religious education resources and a secure mechanism to encourage members of the Catholic education community to collaborate and share quality resources throughout the country.
Education Minister Hon Hekia Parata will address the gathering.
Prime Minister Kirk said in the lead up to the 1972 election that he wanted to enable Catholic Schools to be treated in the same manner as State schools. Parliament which unanimously enacted the Private Schools Conditional Integration Act in 1975 enabled Catholic Schools, many of which were struggling financially, to continue.
“The network of Catholic Schools has rebuilt slowly over time and is now robust, innovative and collaborative, with an overwhelming proportion achieving very well in NCEA results – many of them punch above their weight!The network is admired by the Church community and wider New Zealand society.” Says Sir Br Pat Lynch.
“I’m confident in my time as Chief Executive of the Catholic Education Office that there is a bright future ahead, invigorated by the faith that new kiwis bring plus the legacy of extraordinary work of all those who’ve contributed to Catholic education over the last generation.” Says Sir Br Pat Lynch.
Sir Brother Pat Lynch steps down later this year after 22 years in the role. He received a Knighthood for his services to education, in the New Year’s Honours 2015. Three Principals of Catholic Schools have also been acknowledged in the recent Queen’s Birthday Honours List, , with Elizabeth Horgan of St Joseph’s School, Otahuhu, Anne Miles of McAuley High School, Otahuhu and Paul Daley recently retired Principal of Sancta Maria College, Botany who were all honoured as Members of the New Zealand Order of Merit for their services to education.
“It’s humbling to be acknowledged in this special way but I believe the honour belongs to all of us who work in Catholic education, from teachers, support staff, advisors, Bishops, priests, parents, Boards of Trustees, and countless others, many of whom have not received accolades or praise for what often happens behind the scenes and for many over a lifetime. It also honours those who’ve gone before us , especially those who established Catholic Schools, with the goal of providing a quality education for all young people, no matter their circumstances.” Says Sir Br Pat Lynch.
The New Zealand Catholic Bishops will be in attendance throughout the convention which brings, teachers, principals, staff, Boards of Trustees, priests, advisors and adult educators and academics together.