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Catholic schools deliver “life satisfaction”

"This apparent Catholic school effect on life satisfaction is possibly associated with religiosity."

Catholic schools graduates have “higher life satisfaction” than students at other schools according to a new report which compares Australia’s private and public education.

The Does Private Schooling Pay? report by Curtin University, which analysed more than 17,000 Australian adults across 13 years, found higher income levels for graduates of private schools.

“The results suggest that private schooling continues to be an important mechanism by which socio-economic advantage is transmitted between Australian generations, largely due to enhanced access to higher education,” the report found.

“The extent to which this is a ‘causal’ effect of differential school quality remains contentious.”

The report found that Catholic school students received wages about 10 per cent higher than students from government schools while independent school graduates were earning 15 per cent above the state school figure.

However, report author Associate Professor Mike Dockery found that Catholic school students were more satisfied.

“Both men and women who attended Catholic schools report higher life satisfaction than those who attended a government school and, in the case of males, also greater satisfaction than those who attended an Independent school,” the report said.

“This apparent Catholic school effect on life satisfaction is possibly associated with religiosity, as the estimates are almost completely unaffected by controlling for family socioeconomic background or own educational attainment.”

Brisbane Catholic Education executive director Pam Betts said Archdiocesan schools were focused on providing supportive environments for students as well as connecting with communities.

“Catholic schools believe strongly that education is a partnership between the family and the school. It’s by working together that we are able to provide a supportive environment for students, so that they can achieve academically, whilst also growing emotionally and spiritually,” Ms Betts said.

“Our research shows that students and parents in our Catholic schools feel that school is a safe and supportive place.

“Students see their schools as reaching out to the broader community and being deeply committed to helping those in need. It’s this practical expression of Christianity that gives our students a real sense of personal achievement.”

“Catholic schools are able to provide a really well-balanced offering, as we cater for each student’s spiritual and emotional development, which in turn helps them with their academic performance.”

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