Catholic attack unfounded

12th January 2007 at 00:00
The arguments by former education minister Sam Galbraith and his cheerleaders that Catholic schools are the root cause of sectarianism in Scotland suggest they are clearly in possession of information of which both Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Education and the international educational research community are unaware.

We can only request that they furnish us with their data forthwith. This is especially urgent given the abundant evidence that flatly contradicts Mr Galbraith's assertions.

Catholic schools flourish from New York to New Zealand, and are acclaimed globally for their contribution to social inclusion, economic mobility and intercommunal cohesion.

Assuming that this latest assault on denominational education is, like those that have preceded it, simply the restatement of a local, evidence-free prejudice, then it is surely worth reflecting on its deeper motivations.

The real scandal is the spectacle of politicians only too happy to glad-hand their way around Catholic headteachers and school board members at election times, while privately despising the schools in which large numbers of local parents freely choose to educate their children.

Liberal elites in Scotland repeatedly delude themselves into believing that attacks on Catholic schools somehow showcase their progressivism. Instead, they exhibit to the international educational community an obsessive parochialism that provokes nothing more than disappointment.

Dr Robert A Davis

Head of the department of religious education, University of Glasgow

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