ALL INDIA CATHOLIC EDUCATION POLICY 2007
It is my great joy to present to you this document All India Catholic Education Policy 2007, approved by the CBCI Standing Committee on April 26, 2007. This policy document was prepared by the CBCI Commission for Education and Culture, in collaboration with the Commission for Justice, Peace and Development and the Commission for SC/ST and Backward Classes. It is the final outcome of the CBCI General Body Meeting of 2006 which deliberated on the theme “Catholic Education and the Church’s Concern for the Marginalized”.
Many have contributed to give shape to this final document. The CRI was involved in the formulation of this policy from the very beginning. The Catholic Council of India, too, after its plenary at Vellankanni, offered many suggestions and recommendations. Regional bodies, associations of competent persons in the field of education, and individuals with expertise have added wisdom and given attention to details. So we are grateful to God that the document has come out in a form that is bound to help everyone in the service of the educational apostolate.
This policy document was enthusiastically welcomed and unanimously approved by the CBCI Standing Committee in its meeting of 26 th April 2007 in view of its promulgation by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India.
It gives me great pleasure to promulgate this “All India Catholic Education Policy 2007”. The integral concept of education presented in the policy with a preferential option for the poor and marginalized is in accord with the Kingdom of God proclaimed by Jesus Christ. The Church’s intense and extensive apostolate of education continues Jesus’ mission of liberation and of imparting fullness of life. It is in this spirit, I hope that our apostolate of education will respond to the needs and aspirations of all our people, especially of the poor.
I earnestly urge all the dioceses, Religious Congregations, educational institutions, and all persons engaged in the service of education, to welcome this policy document with joy, accept it whole Heartly, study it with great care and explore ways for its effective implementation. The Regional Councils of Bishops, the CRI and the CCI Regional Units together will do well to evolve a mechanism of implementation of the policy at the regional and diocesan levels.
This Catholic Education Policy is of the whole Church in India and meant for the entire Catholic Community in India. Education is the key to development and progress. With so much investment in personnel and money by the Church in the field of education, let the implementation of this policy usher in a new era in the life and mission of the Catholic Church in India. May the Risen Lord bless abundantly all of us involved in the education of our people especially of the poor and marginalized.
+ Telesphore Placidus Cardinal Toppo,
Archbishop of Ranchi
Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India.
May 25, 2007
“Jesus grew in wisdom, stature, and in favour with God and men” (Luke 2:52).
“A good man knows the rights of the poor” (Proverbs 29:7).
“Those whom the world thinks common and contemptible are the ones that God has chosen” (1Corinthians 1:28).
This Catholic Education Policy seeks to clarify and stress the essential mission of Catholic education in India today. For this, it mainly draws inspiration and substance from the documents of the Congregation for Catholic Education, the statements of the General Assemblies of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI), and specifically the CBCI mandate of February 2006 to evolve an Education Policy that focuses on providing quality and relevant education to the marginalized, especially the children of our Dalit and Tribal brothers and sisters. The policy highlights our duty to give serious attention to and deepen the authenticspiritual formation of all our students and nurture the faith culture of Christian believers. It also broadens the narrow focus on personal academic development and emphasizes the holistic and fuller development that meets the challenge of modern culture and society, and its demand for higher levels of competence. This makes it imperative for us to bring about several significant changes in the planning and organization of our institutions, so that our education retains its Catholic identity and promotes genuine personal development and excellence.
It goes further. The policy advocates the equally essential social and societal transformation, as a major goal and mission of our education. Being Christian is essentially an invitation to become a person of faith, hope and love. It is a summons to form communities of solidarity, and of justice and equality, at the service of all people, especially the poor and the marginalized. As the CBCI proclaimed in 2000, we are committed to “ a new society built on justice, peace, love and harmony: a civilization of love”. And we share our hope with all our brothers and sisters (2.VII).
A key focus area in this policy is on the need for our Catholic institutions to contribute actively to the betterment of India and its people, by sharing in nation building. Developing micro models of communities of solidarity across the many borders that presently divide us—like caste and creed and culture—and make us less human is therefore a major objective of the policy. Jesus showed us the way by proclaiming the Kingdom of God on earth by breaking down age-old barriers of mind and heart, and all types of exclusion and discrimination. In our apostolate of education, our goal, both as individual institutions and as members of corporate bodies (the diocese/religious congregation/Church in India), is to build inclusive human communities.
It is relevant to refer here to the enlightening words of Pope John Paul II, spoken in the context of criticism for his conducting an inter-religious prayer at Assisi: What unites is divine; what divides is not. Seen holistically as spelt out in this policy, our apostolate of education fully participates in the mission of Christ and is truly a spiritual ministry that unites the whole human family.
The life of Christ was an evangelising presence and action in the world, a ‘Good News’ filling all people, especially the poor, with hope. In the pedagogical context, this means providing a Transformative and Evangelising Education. Transformation of self and others, of communities and societies, is a meaningful definition of being a Christian. Through His life, values and attitudes, teachings and actions, Jesus began to build a Kingdom community, promoting the Reign of God on earth. His was not just a spiritual presence, but a holistic presence. Jesus did not confine the thrust of His ministry to the spiritual realm only. He extended it to the social, cultural, economic, civic and political dimensions, in other words, to all aspects of human life and living. This was an essential part of His ministry. Jesus was deeply moved by poverty, disease, ignorance, greed, injustice, conflicts, and the absence of love and forgiveness in the society of His time. Hence, His resolve to be an agent of transformation. He was filled with a deep sense of compassion for the world, for restoring the integrity of human society and the whole of creation. This was His spirituality, a spirituality of being in communion with the Father, and in solidarity with everyone on earth and every part of creation, beyond all kinds of boundaries and divisions.
Our educational mission, in the context of India today and the India of tomorrow, is the re-creation of human lives, communities and the wider society. In the past, there have been many Christian contributions to the society in India. Our present challenge is to build a New Society, to make another India possible, in collaboration with all people of goodwill and their institutions and organizations. At this critical juncture, all must work unitedly with the marginalized to build up a better future for our country. Education has to enable the millions who have no name or face or dignity and whom society treats as non-persons, to regain their dignity and self-worth. The spirituality of communion and service that energized Jesus and gave His life colour, energy and direction, urges us to wholeheartedly dedicate ourselves to this mission.
While focusing on our educational institutions, this policy is situated in the context of the overall educational activities of the Church, which include the important sectors of value formation, non-formal education, literacy, skill development as well as conscientization and other forms of people’s empowerment. We want all citizens to become literate, skilled and competent, socially aware and spiritually motivated, and fully involved in the building of a developed and just society. This policy thus highlights the right of all children, especially the marginalized, to an education of relevance and quality.
A policy is a present decision for future action . If action does not follow, a policy remains a dead letter, even if it is a well-worded statement. This policy therefore presents some concrete guidelines to attain our educational goals. The responsibility for internalising and then implementing it is placed squarely on all the stakeholders — the management, principal, staff, students and parents as well as the clergy, religious and the laity. Hence, in preference to “should” statements we use “we” statements, which are binding nonetheless, while urging regions and dioceses to formulate more detailed and relevant norms that are mandatory in their own contexts.
This Education Policy is addressed to Catholics and all people of goodwill. Until it becomes the shared Vision and Mission of the whole educational community, the policy will remain on paper. Hence, it proposes a flexible monitoring mechanism grounded on local realities, drawing strength from the support of all stakeholders that will involve one and all in its creative implementation and further development. The staff, students and parents are called upon to actively own the policy, be committed to its goals and look at the institutions as their own.
This document is the fruit of much labour. The proposal for an All India Catholic Education Policy came up during the national and regional consultations that were conducted by the CBCI Commission for Education and Culture in preparation for the CBCI General Body Meeting of 2006. The proposal was unanimously accepted by the General Body Meeting itself, which had for its theme “Catholic Education and the Church’s Concern for the Marginalized”. Having received this mandate of formulating an education policy for India, the CBCI Commission for Education has been concentrating on this task for over a year, seeking assistance from the Commission for Justice and Peace and the Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, and from individuals and groups with vast competence and experience in the field of education, like the CCI,CRI, Xavier Board, AINACS, AICUF, AICU and others. Very valuable suggestions have come from different regions, experts in various sciences, and persons of exceptional commitment. We are grateful to them all.
I am particularly grateful to Bishop Charles Soreng, the former Chairman of the CBCI Commission for Education and Culture under whose leadership the idea was launched, Fr. P.P.George, who as Secretary has worked for two terms and has been with the document from the beginning, and Fr. C. Kuriala, the new Secretary of the Education Commission. We are deeply indebted to the Chairmen, members and Secretaries of the Commission for Justice and Peace and the one for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes both old and new: Archbishop Chinnappa Malayappan, Bishop Peter Remigius, Archbishop Dominic Jala, Archbishop Mathew Moolakkat, Bishop Gerald Almeida, Bishop Yvon Ambroise, Bishop Mathew Arackal, (the late) Bishop Johannes Gorantla, Bishop Thomas Ignatius Macwan, Fr. S. Lourdusamy, Fr. Nithiya Sagayam, Fr. Philomin Raj, Fr. Cosmon Arokiaraj and innumerable lay persons. Special gratitude to Archbishop Albert D’Souza and Bishop Thomas D’Souza, the present members of the Commission for Education and Culture.
We appreciate the contribution of Bro. Mani Mekkunnel, the CRI National Secretary, and the valuable assistance of Fr.John Desrochers. I am particularly grateful to Fr. Thomas Kunnunkal, who drew up the first draft, readily revised it again and again, cheerfully integrating various suggestions from every side. It has not been an easy task to move towards a consensus. But when we approximate it, we feel immensely happy. We are so glad that the apostolate of education is close to the heart of everyone, that a great measure of interest has been stimulated on the theme during the recent debates and discussions. We hope everyone will recognize his/her fingerprints on this document, and that it gives expression to some of our most cherished dreams.
I am sure that the Catholic community and the wider public will accept this Policy as an expression of the sincere commitment of the Catholic Church to serve the people of India, especially the marginalized, through education.
Archbishop Thomas Menamparampil, SDB
CBCI Commission for Education and Culture
May 24, 2007
THE CONTEXTS AND CHALLENGES FOR THIS POLICY
“Truly, I say to you, as you did it to the least of my brothers you did it to me” (Matthew 25: 40).
“I have seen how cruelly my people are being treated … I have heard them cry out” (Exodus 3:7).
“Education is the key to empowering the marginalized so that they can enjoy their God-given dignity……As Church, in imitation of Jesus who made a preferential option for the poor, we commit ourselves to focus particularly on the marginalized in order to enable them to take their rightful place in the life of the country and their contribution to the progress of the nation” (CBCI 2006, 7-8).
“Our institutional services must cater increasingly to the poor and there must be reservations both in admission and in employment for the Dalits and Tribals” (CBCI 1998, 5.6).
“Education in India stands at the crossroads today. Neither normal linear expansion nor the existing pace and nature of improvement can meet the needs of the situation” (National Policy on Education, 1986, 1.9).
“Every country develops a system of education to express and promote its unique socio-cultural identity and also to meet the challenges of the times. There are moments in history when a new direction has to be given to an age-old process. That moment is today.” (National Policy on Education, 1986, 1.1).
A) INTERNATIONAL CONTEXTS
1.1 We live in a knowledge-dominated world today. We witness and marvel at the tremendous progress in science and technology. Science-backed technology now produces an abundant variety of goods and provides a wide spectrum of services, in response to the expanding needs of all categories of peoples. This has radically enhanced the standards of living of people, significantly reduced the burden of work, and has greatly increased human capabilities not only in the physical but also in the mental domain. As a result, there is more time available for leisure and for humanizing activities. The Information and Communication Technology has broken down many barriers between peoples and nations and enables them to share easily their knowledge, interests and concerns, if they choose to do so.
1.2 There is also a negative side to this welcome progress. The benefits it offers are enjoyed only by a few, excluding almost the majority of the nations and their peoples. Access to knowledge and constantly changing technologies is jealously guarded. Even when available, the cost is forbidding. Hence, the economic and political inequalities are reflected in the knowledge gap between the privileged and the less privileged and marginalised. Globalisation and liberalization and their structural designs and mechanisms have forced open their entry into the markets of weaker nations, especially those in the Third World. Access to high technology enables the rich nations to exploit the wealth and natural resources of other countries, such as oil, gas, metals, and forest produce with the technical and skilled local workforce, which in turn are paid only very low remuneration. This has led to a situation in which only a few nations continue to enjoy great affluence while the rest are compelled to live in poverty and powerlessness. Most of the decisions that directly affect the lives and concerns of the majority are made by these few rich nations, thus making a mockery of democracy, the sovereignty of national governments and human rights issues. As a result, in our knowledge-intensive and technology-driven world, where possession of appropriate competences is absolutely necessary, the majority of the nations and their peoples have become marginalized. It has resulted in the present international social order that is extremely unjust, since it has created a very unequal world society, with a very large degree of exclusion and consequent marginalization.
1.3 Thus, side by side with great progress, we also witness today massive poverty, inequalities and injustices in many fields of life. Fortunately, in the meanwhile, human aspirations for equality and participation, for human dignity and freedom have also grown in great measure. However, these can be exercised only by those few who have had the benefit of education, and high levels of training and opportunities. Several NGOs, people’s organisations and movements are active in enabling poor and marginalised communities to recognize and assert their rights. As a result, they use a rights-based approach to highlight these inequalities and injustices, always proposing a determined but peaceful approach to the problems. They urge policy-makers and executives to make a major course correction.
B) THE INDIAN SCENARIO
1.4 Within our country, we mirror in many ways the above-described international situation and conditions. Here too we notice an affluent minority, along with a growing middle class with high aspirations, and a significant percentage of the remaining 30-40% or more who are poor, many of them very poor. These are the ones who have been marginalized in varying degrees and who suffer from many kinds of deprivations. While we have an abundance of relevant policies, legislations and schemes to remedy these inequalities, practical actions to implement them have been few and have remained largely ineffective. Hence in spite of these policies and the clear guidelines of our Constitution, even the basic rights of the common people, such as education, health care, housing and basic rural infrastructure remain unfulfilled. Decisions favouring the big industries within the country and the multi-national companies from overseas, have resulted in a great deal of displacement of tribal communities and in the forced migration of the rural people to the cities in search of livelihood and the hope of better living conditions, who often find themselves in worse situations. As in the global context, in India too money and market are emerging as the sole points of reference for the maximization of profits, forcing every other consideration and value to yield to the demands of economic growth and the progress of a small minority.
1.5 In addition, we face a particular problem in our country. There is a culturally rooted belief in our society that there is a division between people who work with their minds and others who work with their hands. The former are created superior and to rule, while the others to remain subject and be ruled. For good measure, a divine sanction was also attributed to this socially engineered caste hierarchy so that the so-called upper and lower spectrums of society internalized it as the will and design of God. There is thus a long–established belief system, a profound mindset and civilizational bias, that people are not meant to be equal. However, in the last three or four decades of modern Indian history, this socially ascribed status, this cultural myth is being challenged and the humanly engineered sharp borders are beginning to get broken down, though still at a slow pace. As the CBCI proclaimed, “discrimination against anybody on the basis of caste is a sin against God and humanity” (CBCI 1998, 4.2).
1.6 Another crucial challenge is the growing assertion of ethnic, regional, cultural and religious identities. There is more and more intolerance, various forms of communalism, tensions and divisions and even violence as a result. A call to mutual understanding and warm collaboration is timely.
1.7 Making a major contribution, through education, towards creating a more just, equitable and harmonious society is a key objective of this policy document.
C) THE EDUCATIONAL CONTEXT
1.8 In today’s context, relevant education is an essential resource for life and living. The presence or absence of this critical resource is a basic divider of our Indian society today . India had the distinction of having the insight that it is knowledge that liberates us (gyana marga mukti marga). But knowledge had remained the prerogative of a few in ancient Indian societies. The unavailability of this essential resource, namely, a good ‘quality education’, continues to deprive the poor of availing of the many opportunities in life even today. As a consequence, a significant third of our population is sidelined and marginalized, while there is such an over-abundance of both knowledge and affluence with the few rich and the powerful in India.
1.9 In spite of significant progress since Independence, the educational situation in India remains rather dismal even today. In 2001, India had about one third of the world’s illiterates — almost 46% and 35% of its female and overall population in the 7+ age group respectively, that is 296.2 million persons. Less than 11% of students enrolled in grade-one pass a Public Examination. More than 80% who fail in a Board Examination fail in Mathematics and Science.
About half of the children between the age of six and fourteen (82.2 million) are not in school. They stay at home to care for the cattle, tend to the younger children, collect firewood or work in the fields, tea stalls or restaurants. These children are thus denied their childhood. Even among those who started school, around 39% and 66% still dropped out before the end of Class IV and X respectively in 2001-02. Only a very low percentage of the rural girls who go to school reach Class XII. Most of these dropouts and out-of-school children are from the marginalized sections of society, namely Dalits, Tribals, Muslims, various categories of the OBCs, and girl children. Various factors such as poverty, caste and gender discrimination, irrelevant education and lack of educational facilities are responsible for this dismal scenario.
D) THE CHURCH’S CONCERN FOR THE MARGINALIZED
1.10 Education has been a major concern for the Church, as she perceives it as an essential tool for the full development of individuals and empowerment of people, specifically of the poor and the marginalized. Such education alone can win for them their legitimate rights and dignity in society. Hence, the Church sees education as an agent of transformation not of the individual person only but also of society. That is the critical reason why the Church has initiated this new policy of education as an effective instrument for the transformation of our unequal society. The basic cause for the continuing gross inequality in India is the very low level of educational attainments among a large percentage of our priority groups, namely Dalits, Tribals, women, and the deprived categories of the OBCs.
1.11 This abiding concern of the Church had been translated into many practical actions in the past. The Church has been a pioneer in bringing modern education to India and in the vanguard in providing education to the marginalized, and specifically to the rural poor, to tribals and to girls. Even today, about 60% of our educational institutions are in rural areas serving the poor and the underprivileged. The Church’s contribution in the field of education has had a direct impact on the social and cultural aspects of Indian society. Education has opened the many closed doors of knowledge to countless thousands of these marginalized persons and endowed them with dignity and status, competences and upward mobility across the length and breadth of our country.
1.12 It is in a multi-religious, multi-cultural and multilingual context that the Catholic educational institutions in our country have been imparting education, and thus serving all communities. Our schools and colleges must continue to remain sensitive and respond appropriately to the legitimate assertion of regional and cultural identities by different groups. This is a challenge that Catholic educators must address. By providing education to all, irrespective of caste, colour and creed, the Church does make a distinctive contribution to attain the goals of national integration and participates in a second freedom struggle to build a just, participatory and inclusive India envisaged by the Constitution. We already have enough evidence of what ‘quality education’ can do and has actually done to empower the marginalized. By implementing this Policy, the effectiveness of our mission in education will be multiplied manifold.
E) THE THRUST AND PRIORITY AREAS OF THIS POLICY
1.13 In its two millennia of history, the universal Church has been responding to the needs of society and specifically to the members of its weaker sections wherever she worked. In India too, there is “need of a greater focusing of the Church’s educational efforts in view of the situation prevailing in the country where millions of people are getting increasingly marginalised” (CBCI 2006, 5). The present policy is framed against the above context. It is to express clearly and forcefully the Church’s commitment to the cause of empowering the marginalized. This contributes to create a New India, a regenerated nation.
1.14 The strategic options of this policy are briefly stated below. Their elaborations are contained in the chapters that follow.
a) It articulates a vision and puts in focus the mission dimension of our ministry of education, and specifically sees education as a spiritual ministry of service (Ch. 2).
b) It provides a framework and gives some indicators to assess the quality of an education that is integral and developmental, covering the physical, intellectual, emotional, social and spiritual domains and thus provides a total education (Ch. 4).
c) It focuses on our total commitment to build a new and inclusive society in India through the provision of an education of quality and relevance to the marginalized sections of society, namely the Dalits, Tribals, and minority ethnic groups and thus expresses our solidarity with them and our commitment to justice, equity and love for all (Ch. 4).
d) It invites the educators to provide education of good quality to all, and not merely to the elite in society, profiting by the many technological and pedagogical advances made in recent years in the field of learning technology and thus make education a powerful instrument for empowerment (Ch. 4).
e) It specifies and elaborates certain guidelines regarding management policies (Ch. 5).
f) It challenges both the students and the staff to become sensitive to the pluralistic nature of our culture and so cross the many narrow borders and walls that we have created, so as to contribute to the evolution of a seamless society, according to the vision of the Constitution.
g) It invites the management to shift those paradigms that have become outdated and to adopt more relevant ones; to give much higher priority to the critical role of leadership rather than place emphasis on administrative and control aspects. Such paradigm shifts will result in increasing greatly our present level of effectiveness of our educational provision. Then we become enabled to fulfil better our mission in education (Ch. 6).
h) It invites the members of the education community to generate enthusiasm and commitment to care for Nature while promoting sustainable development by conserving the natural environment.
i) It contributes to the evolution of an Indian society that is gender sensitive, presenting gender equity and equality.
j) It identifies several factors and indicators of a value-based learning climate in our institutions (Ch.4).
k) It articulates some guidelines to nurture a culture of faith in our students and in particular among the Catholic students, and the necessity of providing a spiritual formation to all our students (Ch.3).
VISION, MISSION AND GOALS OF CATHOLIC EDUCATION
“I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10).
“The spirit of the Lord is upon me, He has anointed me to preach the good news to the poor, sent me to proclaim liberty to captives, sight to the blind, and to set at liberty those who are oppressed” (Luke 4: 18-19).
The goal of education is to teach the students to live, to discover the deeper meaning of life and of transcendence, to learn to interact with others, love creation, think freely and critically, find fulfilment in work, plan their future, or in one word, to learn ‘to be’. It is in and through education that one can hope for a more human and humane future and a more harmonious society (Consecrated Persons and their Mission in Schools, 2002, 82, 84 ).
“Special efforts should be made to enable students: (1) to think for themselves independently and critically; (2) to seek, extend and apply knowledge to the solution of human problems; (3) to continually strive after excellence in every field; (4) to become mature, spiritually aware men and women of character; (5) to value and judiciously use their freedom, combining with it a full sense of responsibility for actions; (6) to be clear and firm on principles and courageous in action; (7) to be unselfish in the service of their fellowmen and concerned for the welfare of the poor and socially oppressed; and (8) to become agents of needed social change in their own situations” (AIACHE Declaration of Purposes, 1982 ).
“Education has an acculturating role. It refines sensitivities and perceptions that contribute to national cohesion, a scientific temper and independence of mind and spirit – thus furthering the goals of socialism, secularism and democracy enshrined in our Constitution”(National Policy on Education, 1986, 2.2).
2.1 God envisions the well-being of the whole of creation and ensures an ongoing healing, wholeness and transformation of our unjust and fragmented world through human interventions. The Mission of Jesus Christ is to restore the integrity of God’s original creation, both human and material and thus build the Kingdom of God on earth. Our vision is the same as the vision of Jesus—that all may have life and have it in abundance.
2.2 Education, by its very nature is a transformative process, namely changing human persons, and through them, society and its structures. This activity of transformation is a spiritual, humanizing and liberating activity and constitutes the core mission of education. In the knowledge society that is emerging, ‘quality education’1 serves as the gateway to the socio-cultural and economic development of persons and of the country.
2.3 Our Mission in Education is therefore to provide:
2.3.1 An Education of quality and relevance to all, and in particular, to the marginalized sections of society,
2.3.2 An Education that frees persons from the social conditioning (such as caste, class, gender and other culture-linked prejudices) which prevents them from living as free persons; and which, instead, enables them to see life as a vocation and as a gift, and which enables them to make free and considered choices in the key areas that affect their personal lives, communities and society,
2.3.3 An Education that leads the young into the sacred space of the human person and of every person, making them aware of the inalienable human rights of every individual and group. This helps to foster pluralism, cultural and religious diversity, individual and collective freedoms and respect for and appreciation of differences, in the face of a globalized world that aggressively pushes towards economic and cultural uniformity,
2.3.4 An Education that humanizes and contextualizes, by assisting the students to raise essential questions concerning the meaning of life and of their role in society, enabling them to become conscious of their responsibility to contribute to evolving a borderless society and to promoting the common good,
2.3.5 An Education that enables the youth to understand the implications of economic policies and structures, political decisions and the media, that play a critical role in shaping people’s lives especially those of the poor, and the social responsibility of citizens as individuals and as groups to engage in proactive measures to bring both transparency and accountability,
2.3.6 An Education that energizes the young to take up the task of contributing to nation–building, so as to evolve a New Inclusive Indian Society, an India of their dreams, which they can own with pride and joy,
2.3.7 An Education that thus forms the young to evolve as men and women of character, competence, conscience, compassion and commitment, who will then contribute to the evolution of a counter–culture to the present ruthlessly competitive model, by promoting collaboration and cooperation for the growth of all, in a climate of mutual trust and sharing; and to the shockingly corrupt society, by fostering uprightness in public life,
2.3.8 An Education which nurtures an encounter with God as a personal event and a free response to the call to faith and which nurtures a life of meaning, purpose and personalized values, including appreciation of other faiths.
EDUCATION AND CARE OF CATHOLICS AND THE MARGINALIZED
“For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth” (John 18:27).
“That is why I was sent as an apostle and teacher….to proclaim the message of faith and truth” (1 Timothy 2:7).
Education “must enable students to raise questions concerning the meaning of life and the significance of reality and to develop a responsible commitment to transform it in the light of the evangelical values and modern culture” (Consecrated Persons and their Mission in Schools, 2002, 54).
“The world has a longing often expressed, for an ideal for values that we shall term ‘moral’. It is thus education’s noble role and task to encourage each and everyone, acting in accordance with their traditions and convictions and paying full respect to pluralism, to lift their minds and spirits to the plane of the universal and in some measure, to transcend themselves. The survival of humanity depends on this” (J. Delors , “Learning, the Treasure Within”).
“In our national perception education is essentially for all. This is fundamental to our all-round development, material and spiritual” (National Policy on Education, 1986, 2.1).
“The new Policy will lay special emphasis on the removal of disparities and to equalize educational opportunity by attending to the specific needs of those who have been denied equality so far” (National Policy on Education, 1986, 4.1).
A) NURTURE OF A CULTURE OF FAITH IN CATHOLIC STUDENTS
3.1 Culture is a way of life, a way of seeing, believing and living a paradigm or map of life. It includes the substantive issues of relationships and attitudes, of values and mindsets as we relate with God, with others, with ourselves, and with society. Religion and faith-based values are important constituents of a culture. We want to transmit to our students a culture of faith, the gift brought to us by Jesus Christ. We stand committed to nurture a Catholic culture of faith as a personalized way of life of Catholic students, going well beyond Catechism classes and some religious practices. Nevertheless, a complete Catechetical course, a careful study of the Scriptures, a profound understanding of one’s eternal destiny in Christ, an enlightened fidelity to Catholic religious traditions and practices, and an introduction to an intelligent participation in the Church’s liturgy and prayer-life remain key components of faith education.“Education, from the standpoint of Christian faith, aims at the all-round formation of the human person with a view to empowering the person to create a society inspired by the Gospel values of service in love, peace rooted in justice, and fellowship based on equality. This education is meant to lead a person to an ever greater openness to the transcendent 1—for us, Christians, to God become one-of-us in Jesus Christ. Hence, one of the important aims of Catholic education is faith-formation, deepening the Christian commitment to Jesus in His Church” (CBCI 2006, 2).“Catechetical instructions enlighten and strengthen the faith, lead to intelligent participation in the liturgy, and provide motivations for apostolic activities” (Gravissimum Educationis, 4).
3.2 By virtue of the Constitutional provision (under article 30 ) and the clear indication of the Supreme Court, in its recent 11 bench judgment (October, 31 2002), minorities have been given the right to establish and administer institutions of their choice, precisely in order to preserve and strengthen their distinct culture. By using this provision to foster and deepen the Christian culture and values among our community members, most of whom are among the marginalized, we will fully realise our Constitutional Right.
3.3 Our education to nurture a culture of faith aims at enabling the students to raise questions concerning the meaning of life and the significance of reality as revealed in our Christian faith. They can then make a responsible commitment to personal transformation in the light of the Gospel values. Our education assists in making them personally rooted in their faith culture through a personal encounter with God. This faith education will enable them to realise God as Father and all other human beings as their brothers and sisters. We create an atmosphere and a climate, which encourages them to listen to the Word of God in the Bible as a personal communication in the real contexts of their life. Actual change in their ideals, attitudes, values and patterns of behaviour will be the indicators that faith has been internalized and has taken root in their life.
3.4 The family comes first in being responsible for the faith education of their children. The Parish and the Educational Institution also share responsibility for this faith education of Catholic children. Therefore the provision of good education and nurture of the Catholic youth is a joint responsibility of the school/college community, the parish community and the home. The pastoral clergy and religious communities have an important role to play here, and must supplement or complement the kinds of financial, academic and counselling supports that the Catholic students need.
B) SPIRITUAL FORMATION FOR ALL
3.5 In continuation of the long-standing tradition of our educational institutions, we give importance to the spiritual formation of our students of other faiths, who form the vast majority in our schools and colleges. We enable them to see religion as a constructive force in their life and in society. We help them to place the emphasis more on the spiritual aspects of religion than on externals and rituals. We assist them to develop a personal set of values and principles and become persons of character and integrity, internalising the social aspects of their religious traditions and thus leading them to experience personal well-being and to make a contribution to build a better India.
C) POLICY DIRECTIONS AND SPECIFIC PRACTICES
3.6 All Catholics are admitted to our schools, on their essential merit that they are Catholics.“No Catholic child, Dalit/Tribal or otherwise, should be deprived of quality education because of a lack of means” (CBCI 2006, 8.1). “Those disadvantaged, socially, physically or intellectually, will be specially assisted so that they can be integrated into the educational system. We make this preferential option, even if in this process academic results suffer. All Catholic schools whether run by dioceses, the religious, corporate bodies or individuals, are expected to participate in this project” (CBCI 2006, 8.3).
3.7 As important as that, we exercise the great responsibility to provide special care for the growth and well-being of our Christian students, and among them, the socio-economically deprived, mentally challenged and differently abled.
3.8 As the visible Body of Christ, commissioned to build that Body on earth, the Church stands committed to integrate all children of God into one great human family, without any distinction of class, caste, colour, creed or culture. However, we exercise a special preference for the children of the SCs, STs and OBCs and take the responsibility to ensure that they receive an education of quality and relevance so that they are enabled to occupy their due place in society.
3.9 We assume the responsibility for the education of the poor and the marginalized in our institutions, as an essential part of our contribution to build an inclusive and just society. In our Indian context the marginalized would include the Dalits, Tribals, rural poor, slum dwellers, migrants, child labourers, un-organized labour , etc. We make available to them well-qualified teachers, who understand their culture and background and are committed to them. By becoming self-empowered, they will then contribute to build a just, humane and democratic India.Historically, Boarding Houses and Hostels have made a great contribution to the upliftment of marginalized communities, Tribals, and rural poor, and to the nurturing of a culture of faith among Christian youth. They will continue to do so.
3.10 We explore, both as a parish community, and as religious congregations and dioceses, ways and means to raise corpus funds for the education of our members till school or for vocational or technical or professional courses or for specialized coaching for competitive examinations to make them eligible for public service. Our goal is to enable them to get on to the road to life and living and be helpful to their communities and to society at large.
3.11 In today’s world, a school certificate level of education and often even a first degree is the minimum qualification needed to enable one to enter into any walk of life. Hence, we disapprove the practice in some institutions of eliminating students only in order to improve results in the Public Examinations. Instead we ensure that students are provided various supports to make them pass rather than fail. Paying heed to the new focus on multiple intelligences, we help students to discover and develop their own unique strengths and talents and so find their place in life. Even for those few who may drop out, we strive to make parallel provision of continuing education through the Open Schooling channel or through provision of vocational and technical courses. Thus we manifest our commitment to those to whom Christ showed a preferential love and move to the ideal of being able to say that “ not one has been lost” (John 17:12).“The New Education Policy will give the highest priority to solving the problem of children dropping out of school and will adopt an array of meticulously formulated strategies based on micro-planning and applied at the grass-roots level all over the country, to ensure children’s retention at school.” (National Policy on Education, 1986, 5.12)
3.12 Fresh initiatives for expansion of our present level of provision of facilities, for training in job-related vocational and technical courses, especially for our Catholic students, and among them, the marginalized, are options that we seriously consider.
3.13 In the present context of rapidly expanding job opportunities in many fields, students require on-going career guidance and counselling.
3.14 Making a difference in society through significant contributions will come from those whom we have developed as leaders. Hence, leadership development becomes a key result area in our planning and organization of programmes.
3.15 We fully recognize that reaching high levels of attainment by our young Catholics can become possible only through on-going links and collaboration with all concerned stakeholders. Therefore, we are committed to evolve a Monitoring Mechanism, involving the school, parish, the parents, the students as well as community leaders. Together we will be able to promote better involvement and generate greater responsibility among the various sections of our community as well as in individual students.
UPDATING AND REORIENTING OUR EDUCATIONAL SERVICES
“I want you to be wise about what is good” (Romans 16:19).
“A good man draws what is good from the store of his heart” (Luke 6:45). “Your lives will produce all kinds of good deeds, and you will grow in your knowledge of God” (Colossians 1:10).
“It is in education, in fact, that the promise of a more human future and a more harmonious society lies” (Consecrated Persons and their Mission in Schools, 2002, 84).
Our institutions are most “effective not only if they are characterised by a spirit of love, compassion, service, justice, honesty, respect and courtesy, but if they also respond sensitively to the cultural and religious heritage of our land, and if they are specially alert to the needs of the poor, generously putting at their disposal whatever facilities they can. But what is of utmost importance is the quality of life of those who staff these institutions (Statement of the National Consultation of Mission, Pune 1994, 63).
“In the Indian way of thinking, a human being is a positive asset and a precious national resource which needs to be cherished, nurtured and developed with tenderness and care, coupled with dynamism. Each individual’s growth presents a different range of problems and requirements, at every stage – from the womb to the tomb. The catalytic action of Education in this complex and dynamic growth process needs to be planned meticulously and executed with great sensitivity” (National Policy on Education, 1986, 1.10).
“In our culturally plural society, education should foster universal and eternal values, oriented towards the unity and integration of our people. Such value education should help eliminate obscurantism, religious fanaticism, violence, superstition and fatalism” (National Policy on Education, 1986, 8.5).
“Value education has a profound positive content, based on our heritage, national goals and universal perceptions. It should lay primary emphasis on this aspect.” (National Policy on Education, 1986, 8.6).
A) INTEGRAL PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT OF ALL STUDENTS
4.1 We consider each student as an individual person. In a climate of mutual trust, we help students to discover and cultivate their talents and to accept responsibility for their own development, and also to assist others in their growth. We ensure the holistic and integral development 1 of every student, in all the dimensions of growth :
health and body fitness
emotional and psychological maturity
social sensitivity and leadership
intellectual and cognitive skills and
moral and spiritual growth
4.2 Our objective is that our students become men and women of high levels of personal competence, conscience, compassion and commitment. We realize that bringing this about through personalized accompaniment demands great dedication and selflessness on the part of all the stakeholders.
4.3 We enable each student to see his/her life as a gift of God and as a call to serve. We help them to realize that it is right attitudes and principles that give power and dignity to one’s life. We nurture the vocational dimension of life in each student and help each to interpret one’s life in the light of God’s plan for him/her and contribute to life.
4.4 We encourage students to liberate themselves from the social conditioning that results in loss of personal freedom. We create this personal free space, by providing the students frequent opportunities for open-ended discussion and respectful listening and inputs.
4.5 We accept, defend and promote the rights of children, with special attention to the rights of the girl child.
4.6 We recognize that educating to freedom is a humanizing process, freeing the person from the conditioning that prevents him/her from fully living as a person, enabling each to make free and consistent choices. We nurture in them convictions about the sacredness of life. We help young people to make right and prudent choices in matters of life, family and human love.
4.7 We educate the students to become active and responsible citizens and help them to evolve a stake in the future of our country.
4.8 We do not allow our institutions to remain stagnant, holding on to traditions and practices that have ceased to have relevance. Instead, our institutions become dynamic and proactive in responding to new focus areas and adopt appropriate strategies.
4.9 To find answers to deal with the heavy syllabus load and prepare young people for life, we will effectively use the large degree of freedom available in organising classes to introduce innovation, greater relevance, and the acquisition of life skills.
4.10 While transacting the curricula, we keep the following principles and focus on these special areas: (including those given in the National Curriculum Framework of 2005)
a) inclusion of values enshrined in the Constitution in the curriculum;
b) connecting knowledge to life experiences outside the school;
c) ensuring that learning is shifted away from content-based rote methods to promoting creativity and problem solving skills and other life skills;
d) enriching the curriculum to provide for the overall development of children rather than remaining textbook-centric;
e) making examinations more flexible and integrated with life situations;
f) nurturing an overriding national identity, while preserving regional identities, informed by caring concern for various communities and peoples within the democratic polity of the country;
g) Fostering and promoting a work ethic, good academic discipline and standard;
h) Instilling a sense of history, culture and tradition, thus fostering national solidarity.
4.11 We help students to understand the languages, opportunities and challenges of the new technologies and of the media and to recognize the impact of these technologies on self, on people, on means of communication and on the future of society. Since media plays an increasingly dominant role, we ensure that our students are enabled to understand how media communicates, so that they are able to use the media critically rather than be used by them.
4.12 In the knowledge society that is emerging in India, new initiatives to promote this are evident in many sectors. For instance, many daily newspapers have introduced supplements covering knowledge on health, social issues, cultural materials, scientific developments and cutting-edge technologies. Several magazines do the same, as does also the TV, which has several knowledge-based channels. In addition, there is a growing number of videos, CDs and DVDs providing further enrichment and support to learning, both general and linked to particular topics and issues. All these will enable our students to become aware and alert.
4.13 Technology now plays an important role in society and in its many functions and services. This is also true in education. We take special care to bring Technology-aided education to the service of our marginalized brothers and sisters in the rural sector. They will be enabled, through suitable packages (e.g. in Mathematics, English, Science etc) to pass rather than fail. Hence our institutions aim at using updated technologies, including e-learning in order to improve the quality and reach of education. We aim at the norm that staff will be made technology-friendly and users of technology, as much in our rural schools as in urban institutions. Where electricity is not available, substitute arrangements are made to solve the problem, since this will greatly enhance both the equity and quality of education that we provide.
4.14 Through periodic training, we equip our teachers with up-to-date knowledge and pedagogical skills including the use of new educational technologies. In the changed and rapidly changing scenario, good habits of work ethic are inculcated both among the staff and students as mandates for life and effective living.
4.15 Our institutions provide the ambience for teachers to work as partners with parents and the management and relate well to colleagues and students.
4.16 To promote the larger interests of our institutions and for the greater effectiveness of our services, we foster good public relations with those in the neighbourhood, and with civil and public authorities.
4.17 As citizens, we promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood among all the people of India, transcending diversities based on religion, language, caste or gender etc. and help to cultivate the many qualities and attitudes mentioned among the fundamental duties of every citizen. The Constitution of India, under Fundamental Duties, 51A lays down the following 10 normative directions for every Indian citizen:
It shall be the duty of every citizen of India
a) to abide by the Constitution and respect its ideals and institutions, the National flag and the national anthem;
b) to cherish and follow the noble ideals which inspired our national struggle for freedom;
c) to uphold and protect the sovereignty, unity and integrity of India;
d) to defend the country and render national service when called upon to do so;
e) to promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood amongst all people of India, transcending religious, linguistic, and regional or sectional diversities; to renounce practices derogatory to the dignity of women;
f) to value and preserve the rich heritage of our composite culture;
g) to protect and improve our natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wild life and to have compassion for living creatures;
h) to develop the scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of enquiry and reform;
i) to safeguard public property and to abjure violence;
j) to strive towards excellence in all spheres of individual and collective activity so that the nation constantly rises to higher levels of endeavour and achievement .
4.18 We educate students and staff to accept and respect differences based on religion, culture or region or any other. We ensure that not only the dominant or majority cultures but also the smaller cultures and traditions find acceptance and respect in the minds and hearts of the students and staff. Thus we shall contribute to develop an alternative model to that of a highly individualistic and exclusive society.
B) SOCIAL SENSITISATION FOR SOCIETAL TRANSFORMATION
4.19 As a major contribution to build a new India and a new ethos, we plan and execute a good programme of social sensitisation of the students, an awareness and action programme to make them understand and become sensitive to the major social issues and inherited inequalities. Systematically done, as a part of a national campaign by our institutions, through a well-designed curriculum and experiential learning, it will empower our students “to create a society inspired by the Gospel values of service in love, peace rooted in justice, and fellowship1 based on equality” (CBCI 2006, 2). We see this as our major contribution to develop a new culture and to build a New India (Bharat Navnirman) and a very relevant constituent of genuine education.Any significant socio-economic and political change requires a deep transformation of people’s ideas, values and attitudes. And only education in its broad sense can bring about this cultural transformation. It is referring to this that Fr. Pedro Arrupe said, “We must form in modern (men and women) a new mentality with new dynamic ideals based on the gospel with all its consequences. We have to imbue our students with a profound sense of service to others. This must not be confined to a service of person to person, but it must also include that most fundamental and most necessary service to contemporary society, namely, contributing to the change of those structures and actual conditions which are oppressive and unjust. Therefore, we have to form as it were the agents of change and liberation of modern society. This means a creative education capable of collaborating in reshaping the new society.”
4.20 Education for Social Transformation2 entails a proper understanding of the dynamic functioning of society: the economic, political and social structures, the meaning systems (culture, religion, and ideology), their manifold and complex relationships, as well as the factors or laws of societal evolution. It also demands the acquisition of a purposeful vision for the future and the identification of effective means and strategies for social change. And most importantly, Christian students are made aware of the social teachings of the Church, especially those of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India.
4.21 In addition, we identify and provide several opportunities to students while in school and even more in college to move into practical social action and so empower them to become stakeholders and enlightened leaders of future India, “who will be able to play a critical role in society and contribute to solve its economic, social and spiritual problems.” (CBCI, 1974, 48).We also “identify talented children from the marginalized communities with a view to preparing them for higher and professional education. Among them, we hope to train a select group for social and political leadership” (CBCI 2006, 8.4). However, they should be socially so conscientized that they remain sensitive to the needs of their own people, and not become oppressors themselves.
4.22 The process of globalisation characterizes the horizon of the present century. While it has some positive effects, it has also many negative aspects, which have resulted in producing gross disparities, injustices, marginalization and exclusion. We provide opportunities to students and staff to understand the negative effects of the present form of globalisation on society.
4.23 Authentic relationships have often become a major casualty in today’s life. We are committed to live and communicate the spirituality of community and of communion by nurturing the relational dimension in our institutions.
4.24 We promote the spirit and practice of cooperation and collaboration and take firm steps to curb different forms of destructive competition. Instead, we encourage self-competition so as to constantly strive for higher levels of achievement, in an effort to reach one’s full potential. We create an environment and institutional climate which values and demonstrates, through actual practice, the many benefits of Networking, Synergy and Team Work. We make this the characteristic trait of our institutions and a means of achieving significantly higher levels of performance. The ideal we set for ourselves is Rising Together (Sahodaya) and the strategy we use is Cooperation and Collaboration (Sahayog).
4.25 In order to cross the many borders that exist in society and which find its reflection in the school, we undertake Cross Border Community Building (CBCB) in our institutions across the many present borders that exist, based on caste, class, religion, region, language and culture. We thus aim to lay a base to build a micro model in our institutions of a united and inclusive community, so as to enable the students to construct later in life a society of peace and harmony at the macro level. Towards this, we help develop on the one hand a strong sense of equity, equality and justice, and on the other a spirit of dialogue, in the minds and hearts of students. This will help many to evolve their own dreams and agenda for action during their adult life and thus contribute to the process of national regeneration in our country. This will also form a key component of the curriculum for Value Education.
4.26 We actively participate in the care and protection of our environment and thus contribute to preserve the integrity of creation.
4.27 We keep in contact with our former students to keep alive their commitment and to evolve relevant agenda to transform that part of society of which they are a part, while pursuing various professions. Thus a doctor may evolve an agenda: “to eradicate leprosy in my district”; or an architect: “to design modern well-constructed low cost houses for the poor”; or a judge: “to contribute to the eradication of corruption” or a young District Magistrate / Collector: “provide safe drinking water and electricity to every family in the district,” etc. Our criterion of reference for judging the quality and excellence of our institutions will be both the higher levels of personal competence that a significant number of our students will have been enabled to acquire a degree and the social motivation that will get them involved in societal transformation, in their later adult years. We follow up on this through our on-going contact with our Alumni/ae Associations and inspire them to become Men and Women For Others and With Others.
4.28 In summary, the Church’s presence in the world of education is a prophetic choice. We see it as the task of the Church through its institutions, to teach the students the fine art of Right Living.
C) OUR CONTRIBUTION THROUGH HIGHER EDUCATION
4.29 The most important indicator of a country’s progress is the state of its higher education. “If all is well with the Universities, all would be well with the nation also” was the reflection of Jawaharlal Nehru. Higher Education does not merely pass on the heritage of the accumulated knowledge of the past but also creates new knowledge, and using technology makes numerous applications to enhance the quality of life and living. Since it is knowledge that is transforming the world, tertiary education has a major responsibility to contribute to the design and directions that the society will adopt.
4.30 Catholic colleges form an integral part of Indian Higher Education. In the present situation, Catholic colleges are faced more than ever before, with the challenge of providing leadership of thought and theories for taking the nation forward. Hence, it is not enough for them to be islands of excellence. By inserting themselves into the national mainstream of issues and concerns, they then become agents of change, and contribute to enhance the quality of life.“Higher education provides people with an opportunity to reflect on the critical social, economic, cultural, moral and spiritual issues facing humanity. It contributes to national development through dissemination of specialized knowledge and skills. It is therefore a crucial factor for survival” (National Policy on Education, 1986, 5.24).
4.31 Christian missionaries were pioneers in introducing modern Higher Education in India. Catholic Colleges are highly esteemed for academic excellence, extra curricular activities and the all-round formation given. The spirit of service has always been a part of the ethos of our colleges. In fact, in recent times there is a new awakening in several of our colleges to meet and respond to the demands of social justice and human rights. Admission policies have been changed to bring in more and more of the underprivileged into the college. Programmes of social awareness are organized to create in the students greater concern for the poor and exploited.
4.32 We have always laid special stress on values. Today there seems to be a serious crisis of values due to rapid changes in society. This has resulted in a good measure of confusion and value disorientation. Youth will therefore need to be provided space and time for value clarification. As part of society, college students cannot but be influenced by the rapid changes that are taking place. Whether students, staff, parents, priests or religious, they all are confronted by this value erosion. Mature discussion, within a democratic frame, would enable our youth and staff to examine major societal issues, like the environment, status of women, human rights, consumerism, corruption, work ethic, questions of peace and social harmony. Development and freedom are linked. Our colleges provide the ambience for humanizing education, within the diverse cultural contexts of our country.
4.33 In terms of policy thrust and decision, we envisage the following:
a) Equip young people to become honest citizens who are rooted in their culture, open to other cultures, and are capable of interpreting social processes, so as to take responsibility for bringing about transformation in society.
b) Our institutions while remaining inclusive, reproducing a mini-India on the campus, will have a clear option for Catholics, for the poor and the marginalized.
c) Re-organise courses and programmes to respond to the changed needs of the times.
d) Promote research and publications in social and scientific fields and also in learning theories and technologies, since in our knowledge society, generation of new knowledge holds the key to progress and development.
e) Network with other tertiary institutions and Universities for mutual exchange and enrichment.
f) Focus on leadership development in various fields so that our students make significant contribution to the progress of the nation and its peoples.
g) Accompany youth in the contexts of today in their pilgrimage of faith on issues of transcendence, which give meaning to life.
D. OUR CONTRIBUTION THROUGH NON-FORMAL EDUCATION
4.34 In 1978, the CBCI asserted: “Our future educational efforts should move more and more in the direction of non-formal education and adult literacy” (CBCI 1978, 20.1). It also recommended in 1998: “Non-formal education to conscientize, train, organize and empower the poor, the Dalits and the Tribals must be given top priority in our social apostolate” (5.2). There are numerous Church-related institutions that are engaged in non-formal education, in many sectors. Though many of them remain invisible seeking no publicity, this contribution by the Church has improved the quality of life of countless thousands in very significant ways. This is all the more creditable, since it offers service and assistance to those most in need. We aim to further expand both the quantity and quality of these programmes. Some of our present areas of engagement are mentioned below.
4.35 In the sector of education: through preparing the out of school children for re-entry or providing continuing education to adults through night schools, or through certificate education for dropouts to give them a second chance in life through Open Schooling channel. Countless groups throughout the country have also used non-formal education to help the people to reflect on and solve the problems affecting their communities and neighbourhood.
4.36 In the health sector: through both small dispensaries in villages and small towns and through preventive health education and the promotion of the use of effective traditional medicines and health care practices; through care for the terminally ill and for the socially marginalized, like lepers and those suffering from AIDS and other ailments.
4.37 In the sector of empowerment of women: through associations and groups seeking to give them dignity and status as well as education in home skills, life skills and job skills.
4.38 In the sector of vocational and technical education: besides provision through formal recognized institutions like ITI, also through the community colleges and vocational courses provided by the National Institute of Open Schooling to prepare them for the world of work and to update their skills so as to earn a better income.
4.39 In the care for the physically and mentally challenged: through our many institutions, which look after them, and which are managed in the true Christian spirit of caring for those who are uncared for. Gradually they are integrated with the students of the formal schools.
4.40 In the sector of rehabilitation of those who suffer from alcohol and drug abuse; engaging in prison ministry.
4.41 In the ministry of peace and reconciliation: at home and between communities, ethnic or religious groups in conflict.1
E) CHARACTERISTICS OF A VALUE-BASED INSTITUTIONAL CLIMATE
4.42 Education is essentially and by its very nature a transformative process, namely, bringing about change in the mindsets and attitudes of students, which in turn, will help transform society. This transformative process takes place in the framework of a suitable institutional climate. Such a climate is characterized by the policies, mindsets and practices of the various categories of members of the educational community (students, staff and parents) seeing themselves as partners and stakeholders and developing a sense of belonging and accepting the institution as “ours,” participating enthusiastically in the common enterprise, having crossed the “we-they” divide. The following are some of the key climate factors which help bring about this transformative process. Therefore we see education as being essentially a thing of the heart.
4.43 The foundation for this climate is mutual trust and solidarity. Conflict situations are resolved through transparent dialogue and without manipulation so as to arrive at win-win solutions, whenever possible. A spirit of freedom and fellowship, mutual respect and service, and concern for each other, especially the neediest, prevails.
4.44 This trust is manifested through delegation of responsibilities. Through a provision of training and accompaniment, the members are thus empowered to make decisions on their own and to execute them. Even when some mistakes are made, these are seen as mere stepping stones to learning and growth and for better future performance. In such a climate, everyone learns and every one grows.
4.45 In our institutions, both in the classrooms and on the campus, we create a friendly and humane climate. While discipline (whose goal is development and not control), is enforced with firmness, it is also accompanied by love and compassion. Hence, we avoid all aspects of a discipline that is coercive.“A warm, welcoming and encouraging approach, in which all concerned share a solicitude for the needs of the child, is the best motivation for the child to attend school and learn” (National Policy on Education, 1986, 5.6).
4.46 The development of all the members of the educational community is accepted as a sacred responsibility. Hence, opportunities for development are provided to all members without exception, both staff and students.
4.47 The institution sees itself as a community of learners.
4.48 Collaboration and cooperation are promoted at all levels. Hence, it positively bans cut-throat competition. Instead it promotes competitiveness, where each one tries to match one’s actual achievement with one’s ability, thus significantly enhancing attainments, both individual and institutional. Through synergistic alliances, we then produce the miracle of making a whole that is larger than the sum of its parts.
4.49 Openness and transparency characterize the functioning of the school / college. Information is freely and fully shared. Relations with the neighbours and with the public are cordial. It develops our institutions as centres of outreach and service, especially to the underprivileged of the area.
4.50 A systematic nurture of work ethic, and high standards of productivity are hallmarks.
4.51 The campus atmosphere is relaxed and friendly, a happy mix of formality with informality, and there is a marked absence of fear.
4.52 Initiatives and ventures by both students and staff are encouraged, appreciated and publicly recognized. Such appreciation becomes part and parcel of this climate.
4.53 The attainments of the individuals and of the institution are celebrated from time to time.
4.54 Groupism and region-based cliques are strongly discouraged. At the same time, we encourage and support cultural diversity and differences, and in particular of small culture groups. Inclusive behaviour is encouraged and appreciated and given public recognition.
4.55 Meetings, whether with the staff, students or parents, often take the form of being interactive and consultative. Current issues, problems and major future programmes are discussed so as to gain from the insights of all the members and avail of their collective wisdom, before arriving at final decisions. Participatory structures are encouraged.
4.56 Goals and targets are set through a consultative process. This goal-oriented climate greatly energizes all the members of the community. The educational community is thus a model of justice, participation, service and brotherhood. Our schools and colleges promote a new kind of relationships where staff and students have a lived experience of the new society we wish to create.
“Plan carefully what you do, and whatever you do will turn out right” (Proverbs 4:26).
“It is only fair that you should help those who are in need” (2 Corinthians 8:13).
“The Dalits and Tribals are exploited, educationally most backward, and are socially discriminated against. The Church should be in solidarity with them and make a preferential option for them. In the situation of appalling poverty of the vast majority of the people in India, the Church has to become not just a Church for the poor but the Church of the poor. This would mean, being with the poor in their daily experience of poverty, injustice and oppression and being with them in their efforts to liberate themselves from poverty and oppression for a fuller life. To realize this objective, the Church should join other people of goodwill and work towards the transformation of the structures like caste and class that cause and perpetuate poverty, injustice and oppression” (CBCI 2002, II. C).
“The central focus in the SC’s educational development is their equalization with the non-SC population at all stages and levels of education, in all areas and in all the four dimensions – rural male, rural female, urban male and urban female” (National Policy on Education, 1986, 4.3).
5.1 A collaborative paradigm between the Bishop, the head of the diocese, and the various Religious Congregations, which set up and manage their own educational institutions in the diocese or manage such institutions owned by the diocese, is evolved. This collaboration is based on a mutually agreed contract. This contract is drawn up on specified and equitable terms and conditions that will pay due respect and attention to the legitimate areas of both administrative and academic autonomy of the Religious and the domain and authority of the bishop. This paradigm promotes and safeguards the inter-dependence and the distinct and different roles and responsibilities of both the Bishop, as the Chief Pastor of the local Church, and of the school functionaries.
5.2 We recruit and retain qualified and competent staff, who are sensitive to the care for the marginalized and who provide ‘quality education’, in consonance with Gospel values.
5.3 As a matter of justice and equity, we pay standard salaries, conforming to certain basic norms and directions from the Board or University or Government. We safeguard the interests of the teachers and other workers, and do not provide any substance for making the accusation that we are profit-making institutions. Resource mobilization is done through ethical ways.“We deplore all attempts to commercialize education. In particular, we will not accept capitation fees” (CBCI 2006, 8.3).
5.4 Our fee structure remains moderate to meet the cost of a good education and hence our institutions are not seen as profit-making. Fee hikes are done with necessary consultation with parents. Frequent harassment of students and parents for additional money collection is what we avoid in our schools. The policy and practice of our commitment to the poor is communicated to the parents and the public and community support is sought to make it a joint venture.
5.5 We provide scholarships and concessions for the economically needy students. Special efforts are made to build a corpus of Scholarship Fund, to provide ‘quality education’ to the marginalized of our society. We actively involve parents and other agencies in raising the funds. We look for creative new solutions to generate additional funds to continue to serve the poor. The administration of this Fund is through a participatory and transparent system.
5.6 Our institutions become ‘open institutions’, namely, a community resource and hence, some of its facilities, like grounds, hall or classrooms for remedial classes, are made available for use by responsible community members, even if they are not our students, so that this special resource becomes available beyond the few hours that these are normally put to use. As a result, a special bond of solidarity and friendship is built up between the institution and the community around.
5.7 The dignity of woman and her vocation in life is respected, going beyond mere stereotypes. We ensure that students and the whole institutional community accept and practise gender sensitivity, equity and equality, in the class, in norms for selection of student leaders and in our attitudes which get manifested in our language and behaviour. We take firm action when gender-based discrimination occurs. Our aim is to promote a gender-empowered society in India, to redress, in some measure, the great suffering of millions and thus contribute to restore gender justice.
5.8 Knowledge is not for itself but for human welfare. Stress on mere erudition loses itself and will, by itself, find it impossible to give meaning to life. Hence the humanism we advocate is a vision of society, centred on the human person and on his/her inalienable rights, on the values of justice and peace, and on a correct relationship between individuals, society and the State, based on solidarity.
5.9 We ensure that our institutions do not pursue the narrow goal of academic prestige, with a strong focus on marks and medals, but instead aim to foster human values and spiritual maturity among the students and staff. In fact, if a Catholic institution, excellent as an academic institution, does not find it possible to implement the essential characteristics of our Christian values and is not committed to our Mission, we would consider it a radical failure on our part.
5.10 As professional persons we have a code of conduct. Ideally this will be self-regulated. However, we take note of the reality of the situation and see the need to put in place certain norms and directions that we all agree to abide by. This includes on-going self-development programmes for the staff, and a code of conduct and an Evaluation Instrument. This instrument will be used primarily for Self-Evaluation, but would also promote greater transparency and accountability. While fully respecting the legitimate areas of freedom and autonomy, we members of a Diocese or of a Religious Congregation, also accept the need, not only to remain transparent and accountable to ourselves but also to accept a common policy that we agree to own, and hence, to implement faithfully.
5.11 We maintain our integrity and remain a credible witness in society: the Church maintains a high level of credibility in society. This is based on our proven record of commitment and practice. We maintain this credibility by evolving a Code of Conduct and ways and means for its effective implementation so that Church-related institutions continue to be sources of inspiration and powerful witnesses in a corruption-prone society.
PARADIGM SHIFTS FOR GREATER EFFECTIVENESS
“I have an obligation to all peoples, to the civilized and the simple, to the educated and to the ignorant” (Romans 1:14).
“Bear with one another, in complete selflessness, gentleness and patience. Do all you can to preserve the unity of the Spirit by the peace that binds you together” (Ephesians 4:2-3).
“A special word to those who suffer any form of discrimination: Deeply pained by the unjust situation in which you are, the Church commits herself to make concerted efforts, together with you, to combat this injustice and create a brighter tomorrow for all of us” (CBCI 2006, 10.6).
“Both diocesan and the religious personnel involved in institutions should adopt a policy in favour of the poor and the marginalized, particularly in matters of education and vocational training centres, as a sign of preferential option for the poor and marginalized” (CBCI 2002, II.C.5).
“Networking systems will have to be established between technical education and industry, R&D organizations, programmes of rural and community development, and with other sectors of education with complementary characteristics” (National Policy on Education, 1986, 6.12 (ix)).
“The introduction of systematic, well-planned and rigorously implemented programmes of vocational education is crucial in the proposed educational reorganization. These elements are meant to enhance individual employability, to reduce the mis-match between the demand and supply of skilled manpower, and to provide an alternative for those pursuing higher education without particular interest or purpose” (National Policy on Education, 1986, 5.16).
6.1 Throughout human history, many changes have come about through a new vision, a changed perspective and a fresh approach to what existed earlier. This is equally true in the realm of scientific innovations, of economic or political reforms or in the spiritual realm. These are created by evolving a new lens, new ways of seeing. These are called paradigm shifts. Our Christian faith is an outstanding example of such a paradigm shift, and Jesus Christ is recognized in history as bringing about such a paradigm shift in human thinking. In the very changed circumstances of today and the tomorrow ahead of us, certain paradigm shifts are necessary to make our education fulfil its mission of bringing about both personal and societal transformation.
6.2 We resolutely and effectively focus our priorities—our personnel, finances and institutions—on the education of Catholics/Christians and the marginalized, especially the Dalits, Tribals and women. This leads us to rethink and reorient our admission and financial policies, and even our infrastructure and pedagogy.1 We also make greater efforts than hitherto to promote literacy for all, the universalisation of free and compulsory elementary education, various forms of non-formal education, and advocacy and lobbying in favour of the marginalised. And we privilege the type of education that meets today’s crucial challenges and leads to social transformation.
6.3 We network with others: Providing Education For All is both our national and international commitment. Without it, the majority of our people will continue to remain marginalized. Educating India is a huge national task, in which we want to actively participate. Therefore net-working is a necessity. The paradigm shift will mean linking with other agencies, including the Government agencies.We will aim to build models, using both our commitment and our competences. Applications of psychology, learning theories and of different technologies will call for inter-disciplinary collaboration. Such a paradigm shift will multiply our present reach and outputs manifold.
6.4 We provide higher levels of competence to the rural youth: Unemployment is still a major problem in India while more and more jobs requiring technical skills are being created. Provision of vocational and technical courses, especially for our priority groups, in the rural sector, both at the secondary and also at the tertiary levels, is another area for a paradigm shift. These could range from provision of courses in community colleges, or ITI institutions or professional courses at tertiary levels. We plan to establish several rural professional institutions to make our rural youth market-ready with skills and updated competences. The acquisition of competences in several fields of engineering, ICT, marketing, agro-processing, bio-technology, watershed management, product value addition and other management fields and leadership development will make the rural youth contribute both to self-empowerment and to the Gross National Product. The gross abuse of they being denied full share for the products of their labour will cease. This will also prevent them from the need to rush to the urban centres in search of a better life and living.
6.5 We articulate a curriculum to maintain environmental hygiene and good social manners. This must start in the early stages of school and go up to the college as well so as to make the young socially sensitive and responsible. For a nation that is rapidly moving from a developing to a developed nation we are faced with gross insensitivity to basic hygiene, environment cleanliness, good social etiquette and polite behaviour. Through a systematic and sustained effort, we would contribute to evolve a new model of social relations to replace the present very unacceptable condition and behaviour patterns.
6.6 We articulate and transact a curriculum to develop life skills: We formulate a curriculum to enable the students to develop life skills, at the school and college levels. This curriculum can be based on the following ten life skills that WHO has identified as very relevant for the youth of today, namely, problem solving skills and decision making skills, critical thinking skills, creative thinking skills, effective communication skills, interpersonal relationship skills, self-awareness skills, empathy building skills, advocacy skills, skills to cope with emotions and skills to cope with stress.
6.7 We use e-learning for better learning and wider outreach: Today, more and more learning is taking place, besides and beyond the normal classroom set-up where face to face teaching is done. E-learning has established firm roots worldwide and its scope and use are rapidly expanding in India as well. We take the initiative to introduce e-learning, not only in our urban schools but give the same stress to do so in our rural institutions, wherever possible, in order to fulfil our mission of transformation through provision of education of quality. E-learning has many applications: for instance, for the updating of teacher competence and ongoing training; for teaching regular subjects, where the e-learning addition will greatly enhance understanding and produce higher levels of achievement, whether we use it for general education, for health education, for civic education, and for other purposes. This tool can be a powerful means for the empowerment of the village persons, to enhance the skill and output of farmers using technology, or for the education and training of those elected to the Panchayati Raj and women in general, and other people in similar contexts. More and more of educational programmes, based on prescribed courses and curricula, are being digitalized. The use of these resources will provide easy outreach to the presently un-reached. We also will multiply our provision by using the courses and programmes offered through Open Distance Learning System (ODLS) offered through IGNOU, NIOS and state level Open Universities and Schools.
“Educational technology will be employed in the spread of useful information, the training and re-training of teachers, to improve quality, sharpen awareness of art and culture, inculcate abiding values, etc., both in the formal and non-formal sectors. Maximum use will be made of the available infrastructure. In villages without electricity, batteries or solar packs will be used to run the programme” (National Policy on Education, 1986, 8.11).
6.8 We develop enlightened and proactive citizens and contribute to nation–building through a curriculum of social sensitisation . Education often lays stress only on the rights of the individual but fails to emphasise one’s duties, especially to society. We now accept the awakening of social consciousness as our educational responsibility. A good education must not only provide competences and a passport to good living and success, but also enable the person to contribute to the wellness of society.
“I prayed, and understanding was given to me; I entreated, and the spirit of Wisdom came to me” (Wisdom 7:7).
“Teach and instruct each other with all wisdom” (Colossians 3:16).
7.1 We have put the focus on our commitment to the poor and the marginalized, in true Christian tradition, so that, through a relevant and ‘quality education’, they will regain their legitimate place, rights and privileges and become full members of our society. Here, we remember the luminous insight of the Synod of Bishops and the resulting document, ‘Justice in the World’ (1971) which says: “ Action on behalf of justice and participation in the transformation of the world fully appear to us as a constitutive dimension of the preaching of the Gospel and of the Church’s mission for the liberation of the peoples from every oppressive situation” (# 6).
7.2 This policy has highlighted the hope and the strategies to make the Catholic community participate in the second freedom struggle that is now taking place and make a substantial contribution to fashion a new seamless Indian society, as envisioned by the Constitution of India, across the many present borders. Hence, we have urged the shift of focus from ‘maintenance mode’ to ‘mission mode’ in order to contribute to the India that is in the process of re-making. There is great enthusiasm in India to get on to the world stage. Our fidelity to the mission of Catholic Education will contribute to the making of that New India, as a Regenerated Nation. Gandhiji had assured us: “ A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable fire in their mission, can alter the course of history.” He demonstrated it by engaging in the first freedom struggle.
7.3 In the context of values and principles becoming more and more of a casualty, we have urged the nurture of a culture of faith in the young Catholics and other members of the student body.
7.4 We realize the key leadership role that the Church, along with all progressive forces, must courageously assume, rather than continue our focus on good administration alone. The effective implementation of this policy will make happen the many miracles of multiplication of our present levels of outcomes.
7.5 “Building a New India, where every child is educated, where the marginalized are empowered, where the educational system seeks to transform society, is our dream. We are confident that with the help of God, with the dedicated service of our priests and religious and lay faithful, and the collaboration of all, this dream will become a reality” (CBCI 2006, 10).
7.6 “ There are moments in history when a new direction has to be given to an age-old process . That moment is today ” (The National Policy on Education, 1986, 1.1).