The Catholic Church As an Actor of Neoliberal Changes in Education

Sunday, 10 July 2016: 11:33
Location: Hörsaal 42 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Miroslav TIZIK, Institute for Sociology of Slovak Academy of Sciences, Slovakia
One of the first changes in the Czechoslovak legal regime after the fall of state socialist regime in 1989 was the pluralization of educational system, which opened up for church or religious actors (along with public and private schooling) on all levels of education. After creation of an independent Slovak Republic in 1993 these three types of schools – public, church, and private – had gradually developed a model, in which a school receives funding according to the number of pupils or students attending the school regardless of its founder. The establishing process of church schools was based on the same principles and logic as the establishment of private schools – on the principle of competitiveness among the church schools and also between all three types of schools to attract the student or the pupil. Public schools attended by the majority of children and young people have become the main rival both for church and private schools. Church and private schools have become allies and the main competitor of public schools particularly in more urbanized and richer regions in Slovakia. It was mainly the Catholic Church, which competed with public schools in the most active way. It stipulated in its strategic documents goals such as to attract a higher number of children and to transform public schools into church schools. Church schools influenced by internal church policy have spread mostly in regions with the highest economic prosperity and the highest achieved education of its inhabitants, which are as a matter of fact also areas with the lowest religiosity. Thus, church schools have become part of the space of adaptaion to principles of free market economy in the Slovak Republic and the space for socialisation to the logic of neoliberal capitalism.