Catholic Institute of Western Australia

The Catholic Institute of Western Australia (CIWA)is a tertiary educational body, set up by and accountable to the Conference of Bishops in Western Australia to provide theological and religious education for potential and actual teachers in Catholic schools, to enable them to satisfy accreditation requirements as set out by the Catholic Education Commission WA and for other groups who, from time to time, may seek such assistance.

CIWA is a unique institution within the Church because it conducts Catholic religious education, theology and scripture units in pre-service and post service teacher education programs at Edith Cowan, Curtin and Murdoch Universities in Western Australia.

Currently CIWA offers units in undergraduate and Masters courses at Edith Cowan University and undergraduate units at Curtin and Murdoch Universities. These units go towards satisfying the Accreditation requirements for teachers, teachers of Religious Education and leaders in Catholic schools in Western Australia.

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Catholic Institute of Western Australia staff are dedicated to offering high quality service and delivery of Catholic Studies units.

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 Mission and Vision

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In 1975 a unique event took place in the training of students who planned to seek employment in Catholic schools in Western Australia. In most states in Australia religious orders provided courses in their own training colleges to prepare teachers for Catholic schools. This was not the case in Western Australia. After many years of planning, an innovative model for training teachers for Catholic schools in this state was prepared for implementation. The model had never been used elsewhere in Australia.

In 1976 forty-five students were accepted for enrolment in religious education units designed and presented by staff of (what was then called) the Catholic Pastoral Institute (CPI) and taught at the Mount Lawley Teachers’ College in its Diploma of Teaching program. This was the first instance of a state teachers’ college collaborating with a Catholic institution in a jointly recognised course.

Besides offering tertiary units that satisfy Accreditation requirements the Catholic Institute has also contributed to educational development in Western Australia. This contribution has included in service programs for Religious Education teachers in the Catholic sector; the expansion and operation of the Catholic Library; the delivery of Adult Education courses in a variety of locations across the state; the offering of a Diploma of Religious Education to teachers and others in Western Australia, interstate and overseas; contributing to the development and operation of the Perth College of Divinity; and the production and distribution of a series of reflection /discussion booklets on the gospels.

Thousands of students have studied ‘Catholic Ed’ units through what is now called the Catholic Institute of Western Australia (CIWA) at Edith Cowan, Curtin and Murdoch Universities. Many of these students have enrolled in these units to complete Accreditation requirements to teach or teach Religious Education in Catholic schools and/or to complete units towards the Accreditation for Leadership of a Catholic School Community and Accreditation for Leadership of the Religious Education Learning Area.

Source: Collins, J. (1999). One of a kind: The social history of the Catholic Institute in Western Australia. Perth: Catholic Institute of Western Australia.