- Calendar Scheduler
- News Letter
We are invited and challenged to break out of our well settled and comfortable lifestyles and move and occupy new spaces, sharing spaces similar to what the majority of people occupy. We are also asked to think of new processes. It calls us to apply it to our ministries.
The present system of education, barely 200 years old, imitates an efficient process that was necessary for producing things, namely standardization, uniformity, inspection and selection of fit and discard of unfit items. This machine age model was applied to education. As a result, the majority of students coming out of the system are misfits to deal with life and demands. Even for those who become job-worthy, the focus on developing skills for jobs tended to ignore producing skills for life. Focus is mostly on IQ and not enough on Emotional Quotient. So we must ask whether the formal system has become out of date and irrelevant? How ‘fit’ have our outgoing students become to examine critically the present and rapidly evolving new contexts and conditions and become empowered to respond to the new contexts and conditions? At a very rapid pace, technology and the media are robotizing us humans, yes, dehumanizing us. We surely need technology but technology for man and not man for technology, as it is becoming. Focus on human rights, duties, values, norms, warm relationships, genuine friendships, giving and sharing, cooperation and networking etc., which are part of a humanizing paradigm for wellness of life and living, are being replaced with mechanistic alternatives.
Money has become almost the sole currency for all our transactions. In the present system, besides teaching them to give correct text-based answers to questions in Physics, Chemistry and other subjects to score high marks, (which lose their relevance soon after leaving school) how well are we also teaching them to cope with the rapidly changing realities of life they will face in adult life and are we equipping them to seek new answers to life-related questions? What kind of pedagogy should we adopt, even while making good use of technology support? Do we allow the young to becomelike puppets on a string, with lifestyles and choices which media and popular expectations impose on them? Many countries have given up this machine age model, applied to education. We still hold on. Are we also being sucked into ‘what everyone else is doing’ and as a result, are losing our distinct Jesuitness, our traditional focus on animation and formation rather than on mere administration? Many countries have given up this machine age model, applied to education. We still hold on. Through mentoring, in what measure are we helping them to find answers to life questions: Who am I? Where have I come from? What is my place and role function in this universe? What is my final destiny? These are unpleasant questions seeking unpleasant answers. But the Pope and the GC ask us to be ready to enter into new spaces and evolve new processes, which continue to remain our Jesuitcharacteristic.
What are our specific answers to the questions on new spaces and new processes in our school ministry here?
To find right answers, we must identify and accept what our mission is. Our ministries are obviously not our mission, but they are means and helps to pursue our mission. How can wemake education as mission and not education as just ministry? We talk of integral education, education of the body, mind, heart and spirit. What role and importance is currently given tovalue education and value clarification, using interactive methods that would arouse feeling, help raise questions that would enhance awareness and touch the “spiritual” in their life? This will also bring up the question whether we need to explore the more radical question whether we need to seek new spaces and processes in education. If education does not produce transformation, can we call it good education process? What processes will we need to initiate in order to arrive at this transformation of at least few? To be a school of excellence, can we put the normative figure of 5-10% of outgoing students each year making some significant contributions to the larger society in their adult years?
Our model is the Gospel Christ. He came on a Mission from the Father and in pursuit of that mission, He chose new spaces, not spaces already occupied by the scribes and Pharisees. He chose new processes by the way He lived, related and pursued his life and mission, which was radically different from what others did. This upset and angered them and led to his being killed. Much prayer and great deal of discernment, both personal and communitarian, are needed in order to arrive at right answers to these ancient and current questions.
We must also begin to ask radical questions, seeking radical answers. Has time come to think of ‘deschooling’? Ivan Illich raised the issue in 1971 in his book: Deschooling Society. In our organized society, we do need institutions, but through them, are we getting institutionalized, which then makes constant demands for more personnel, more money and more infrastructure expansion? How willing are we to share power and decision-making with our collaborators? Will some things go wrong then? Possibly yes. Humility will not allow us to claim that our management has always been faultless. Will some things get better? Possibly yes.