An introduction to the world of Catholic Schools



The founders of Catholic Schools in the Diocese of Port Elizabeth:

The Dominican Sisters of Cabra

The Missionary Sisters of the Assumption

The Marist Brothers

The Dominican Sisters of King Wiiliams Town

The Jesuits (Society of Jesus)

(Dc la Salle Brothers)        ••• and Parish Priests…



The schools today:


23 Catholic schools in the Diocese.

22 are public-schools-on-Catholic-Church-property (PSPP), each with a Deed of

Agreement with the Department of Education, 1 is independent.

20 are primary schools, 3 are high schools.



Our schools’ common story:


Chapter 1 Foundation stories – the rise of new religious orders’ in 09th.

Chapter 2 Beginnings in SA – ‘Roomse gevaar’ fortresses but with open doors – esp. early C20

Chapter 3 The crushing of SA’s ‘mission’ schools & teachers-colleges the 1950s

Chapter 4 Expansion and multiplication – into the 1960s

Chapter 5 Contraction, amalgamations, & closures the 70s and 80s

Chapter 6 Open schools, white flight. & the waning of boarding – 1970s-90s

Chapter 7 The coming of Lay Principals -the 80s and 90s

Chapter 8 The coming of Boards of Governors – the 80s and 90s

Chapter 9 Independent schools & PSPP – the new SA of the 90s

Chapter 10 Expansion & conversion (hostels & houses) vs mere subsistence – the 90s & beyond

Chapter II The Lay Age of Catholic Education – the C21st



The third generation in Catholic schools:


1st generation was the pioneers, typically Sisters or Brothers,

2nd gen: the inheritors of established schools in the late C20th.

3rd generation is you…

  • Third-generation is not third-class. Progress, not degeneration…
  • A whole new set of strengths from the new base of ordinary family people.



Then and now…


Then: Now:
Lots of Sisters & Brothers in their habits Plainclothes professionals from ordinary life
Single-minded dedication of Sisters/Brothers A range of levels of staff dedication
The strengths  & weaknesses of the Cloister Stronger links to the wider world
Strong conservative forces built-in Freer to innovate and try new ways
Some ‘tribalism’, much competitiveness Much collaboration and networking
Almost all single-gender schools (‘monastic’) Both single-gender & co-ed options available
The hidden subsidyn0f unpaid Religious Much harder to make schools affordable at all
The schools were simple but resourceful Wider gap between have & have-not schools
Apartheid in the schools was enforced by law Still much apartheid by geography/location
Catholic schools were smaller & decentralised Catholic schools are larger but fewer
Differences were mainly economic Two different worlds: independent & p-on-p-p
The charisma & spirituality held by Religious The charisma & spirituality shared broadly
The Brothers/Sisters held the world-wide links Schools belonging to something worldwide