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For the above seminar around 35 Men and Women Religious, Principals and the Managers of Educational Institutionswere present from various parts of India. The three day seminar/workshop was jointly organized by ISI Bangalore and JEASA New Delhi.
The first session was challenges to Christian Education in India.
Fr. Sunny Jacob SJ placed before us the Socio-political and Cultural context of the world in which we carry on our Mission of Education. He explained the major contextual happenings; Global Terrorism, Communalism, Fundamentalism, poverty, discrimination, gender discrimination and violence against the vulnerable. In this context Christian education in the 21st century, must be the Education for Transformation. Hence the spirituality of ours must be strongly inspires us for a radical changes in our mindset, “Walk with a heart, that does not Rest “. The values everywhere we see and hear are of cut – throat competitions, corruptions, hedonism, and mediocrity. Here Catholic Educational values like Magis, love, care and concerns for each individual, unity mind and soul, Competency, Conscience, Compassion, Commitment , harmony among all, Ecological concerns and justice must be part of our educational endeavours. This calls for a radical paradigm shift on our part.
Session 2 Global Citizenship, Democracy, and Indian Constitution.
This session was held by Rev .Fr.Cyril SJ. This is part of Human Right and Global Citizenship Education, a model the Jesuits introduced in their schools. Fr. Cyril explained in a very simple manner the thought of being human and human identity , both are important for us but the essence is Human identity, is rights of every one. Every individual has rights but with responsibilities. The mission of Jesus was nothing but Restoration of Human Dignity. Human Rights education makes a human person very precious and valuable with self worth and self-esteem, hence we need to live and enjoy the life of human life to the Full.
He gave an example of Tamilnadu Schools, where many of the schools have imparted this knowledge to the students from sixth standard onwards. He also distributed the sample copies to each members and asked us to evaluate in the groups, and there was a fruitful and positive responses to imbibe this values in our respected schools.
Session 3- New Educational Policy:
New Education Policy which is going to come on the 31th of October, 2018 (According to MHRD) was highlighted by Rev.Fr Sunny Jacob SJ. It was an eye opening message to each one of us. It’s a high time for us to note the Agenda of the Central Government, which is a very serious issue to be studied and responded adequately. So the need of the hour is to have proper awareness of the daily happenings in educational scenario and a united response by networking among the church organizations, denominations and the like minded organizations, including other Religions and Political Leaders. He urged all of us to study the Draft policy as soon as it is out and respond to it proactively.
Session 4. Innovation In Education –Proactive Responses to the challenges –By Rev.Fr.S M John Kennedy SJ.
Fr. Kennedy brought to our notice the 2016 Draft education policy and its negative thrust areas. The united effort of many organizations, among them CBCI and JEASA was part of this JACAAPEP, which made awareness all over India. Finally it culminated with a huge National rally at Delhi on 17 Nov. 2016. Sitaram Yechuri and many other political stalwarts made serious impacts in the parliament and as a result in the Education policy Draft was withdrawn and New Commission under the Leadership of Dr. Kasturirangan was formed. We need to resist the ongoing agenda of Communalization, Commercialization, and Centralization of Education and must say no to caste based discrimination against Dalit’s and Adivasis in educational institutions. He also flashed before us a model school which he himself had brought up in TN.
There is a greater need for a New Vision of a Just Society. A Just Society means free from the toxic mix of Neo Liberal Corporate Agenda and a Hindu
Nationalistic Agenda that undermines India’s Secular Democratic Traditions and Constitutional values.
Session 6 Future of Catholic Schools I India:
This session was taken by Fr. Sunny Jacob SJ. The future of Catholic schools in India was discussed in the backdrop of the challenges we faced with today.
This was an interactivesession, knowing the facts about the burning issues the members shared there deep feelings and regretted of the lost opportunities to make our education better and more relevant. A few members also shared their concerns on various issues confronted by them. Governments of the day puts unnecessary restrictions on our institutions.
At the end Fr. Sunny Jacob SJ concluded with a request to all to be united in facing the challenges and overcoming them. The three day workshop was, in every sense, an eye opener for all of us. Everyone of us felt encouraged, enthused to do Magis (more) and inspired to carry on the educational mission in a more creative way. We concluded the seminar with the vote of thanks and a note of gratitude to one another.
The Manager & Headmistress
Mount Carmel Convent High School