05 Editorial - Catholic Education: A New Future in 2019?

posted Jun 6, 2018, 10:15 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jun 7, 2018, 2:15 PM ]
Have the Management, Principal and Staff prepared themselves for the many, many demanding questions that will definitely arise during the education process in the classroom? Answers to these questions will certainly impact the lives of future generations.

To name a few: the possibility of an educational system that can alter the face of the Nation; the induction of thought processes into the curriculum, processes that are in keeping with the cultural DNA of the powers of the day; the crying need for gender sensitivity, respect and equality; the countering of the slavery of persons to the mobile; the temptations in and of the internet; modalities for countering fake news, the plastic destruction of Mother Earth and the continuing plundering of the environment. Is this not a thought-provoking list?

Will the students who pass out from our Catholic Schools sit on the fence when issues of national interest, gender and social justice crop up? Will their driving force in the Institution be only graduation from the Board Examinations? Will schools turn a blind eye to the exploitation of Planet Earth? Will anything be done at all in Moral/Value Education classes to infuse into our students the fact that life is precious and full of dignity, and that girls as well as boys are created equal in the image of the one God? Do schools have a database from which resource persons can be tapped for conducting seminars or whatever?

The undeniable situation in which Catholic Schools find themselves is the tug-of-war between the demands of the Church, the innumerable orders and suggestions from the Education Department – Centre and State, and the agonising exigencies of modern-day living.

Parents and teachers, the whole academic community must be prepared for the arduous task of enabling present and future generations not just for passing Examinations, but also for being able to face LIFE, as it is being played on various platforms on the local, national and international levels. Our schools must have teachers, dedicated and au courant with the latest teaching methodologies, as well as the aids to the classroom provided by computers and the Net.

More importantly, it goes without saying that our Catholic Schools have to constantly study and determine the best ways by which the wards entrusted to their care develop a well-seasoned Faith that will empower young women and men to be the personification of the Jesus values to the world of today. The Catholic School is not just a mechanism for preparing students for the Board Exams. Its Mission and Vision must be the development of human beings who are fully alive and capable of meeting the many societal demands of the day.

One of the great challenges that faces our Catholic Education System is to prepare students, Catholic students, to be a sign of love in the classroom and in the community, nay, to be love in a world torn apart by division and hatred. How does the Catholic School nurture this awe-inspiring vocation to be love, to be reconcilers, to be unifiers in the classroom, in the Church and Society? In cultivating this great calling, our schools will help fulfil the prayer of Our Lord: “May they be one as you, Father, and I are one.”

Our students, our future generation, will, by their shining example, help others to ‘be the change’ that will make certain the existence of a strong, harmonious Nation dedicated to the conviction that all are equal and endowed with the inalienable right to be fully women and men with the freedom to participate in decision-making in the body politic.

We trust that efforts will be made to rise up and meet with determination and preparedness the many concerns of what can turn out to be a most decisive 2019.

Noel D’Silva was the former President of the Catholic Teachers Guild and founder of a special programme for the poor in Open School.