REV. FR. CHRISTIAN JAMES CASTRO, CMF

The Philippine Catholic Church in 2012 celebrated 400 years of Catholic Education in the Philippines. In 2021, the Philippines will be celebrating its 500th year of Christianization. These celebrations make us truly happy and proud of our Filipino Catholic heritage but at the same time make us ask the question “Why is it that the largest Catholic country in Asia continues to wrestle with massive poverty, injustice and violence, graft and corruption, environmental degradation, family breakdown, deterioration of values, among others and yet we are governed by predominantly Catholic politicians coming from Catholic Schools?”

These current dichotomy compels us to revisit our identity as Catholic School vis a vis the mission of Catholic Church. What does it mean to be a Catholic School in the twenty-first century, amidst the evils in the society?

To answer this concern, last 2016, the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines, Superintendents Commission and Phoenix Publishing House Educational Foundation launched a document called Philippine Catholic School Standards or PCSS. The PCSS aims to provide relevant standards and benchmarks based from the Catholic Church documents by which Catholic schools can assess their Catholic identity and transform their schools towards a more Catholic orientation and faith based institution. The document is divided into the following five major parts: Defining Characteristics of Catholic School, Domains, Standards, Benchmarks and Rubrics.

Moreover, PCSS is an assessment tool but it is not an accreditation instrument. The PCSS is primarily a document for collective reflection to systematically examine Catholic School based from its performance as educational institution and how it lives out its unique identity and mission as a Catholic School.