St Josemaría had a profound educational vision. He saw that genuine education must be integral, developing the whole person. He tended to use the word ‘formation’ more than education to express the idea that young people needed help to grow in character, emphasising human virtues such as diligence, generosity, sincerity, humility and kindness.
Because he knew that education was more than academics, St Josemaría highlighted that education is primarily the right and duty of parents; the role of the state and the role of schools being secondary. He encouraged parents to establish schools which recognise their educational rights and support their values. Today there are more than 200 schools like Tangara across the world.
In a letter as far back as 1939 he said that “parents are the first and principal educators of their children”. In this he foreshadowed later pronouncements at an international level.
“Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.” - Article 26, UN Declaration of Human Rights
“The States Parties to the present Covenant undertake to have respect for the liberty of parents and, when applicable, legal guardians to ensure the religious and moral education of their children in conformity with their own convictions.” - Article 18, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
“The right and the duty of parents to educate their children are primordial and inalienable… Parents have the first responsibility for the education of their children.” - Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2221, 2223