The New Zealand Catholic bishops have begun a formal consultation process with Catholic education staff about the development of a proposed new Catholic tertiary education institution, under the collective ownership of the diocesan bishops.
The proposed institution would be created by merging parts of the Wellington Catholic Education Centre (WCEC) and parts of Auckland’s Catholic Institute of Theology (CIT). Education staff in other dioceses will also be involved.
The Nathaniel Centre and the National Centre for Religious Studies (NCRS) would also be integrated into the proposed institution, with the two centres retaining their identity and names publicly and within the institution.
The bishops would aim to foster mutually supportive and collaborative relationships between Good Shepherd College and the proposed institution, as The Bachelor of Theology degree offered by Good Shepherd College is an integral part of the Catholic tertiary qualifications offered by the Church in New Zealand.
The proposed institution would be a registered Private Training Establishment, providing qualifications in education and pastoral ministry approved by NZQA and any nationally recognised and nationally available qualification the bishops may wish to establish.
No redundancies are intended as part of the merger process.
The bishops say the proposed establishment of the proposed institution represents an opportunity for the unique identity of the Church in Aotearoa New Zealand to be reflected in a Catholic tertiary institution in new ways.
“We want to develop a truly Catholic national provider which is a strong presence for the Church in society, as well as providing qualifications and professional development in education and pastoral ministry,” they say.
“The integration of The Nathaniel Centre and NCRS into the proposed institution will help in developing this character. We are a small country with a limited number of qualified tertiary teachers and limited resources. We need to work together to provide Catholic tertiary education of the highest possible standard across the country.”
A Transition Committee will assist the bishops in working through feedback received from staff contacted as part of the consultation process.