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SPEAK UP Guwahati Province (ING)

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Paul Vadakumpadan, Guwahati says,
EDUCATION: THINKING OUT OF THE BOX
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Guwahati, Jan. 19. ``Christian educators have a special responsibility to Christian youth. In India, the right of the Christian community to run educational institutions of their own and to form their members according to their own religion and culture is guaranteed by the Constitution.


EDUCATION: THINKING OUT OF THE BOX

``Christian educators have a special responsibility to Christian youth. In India, the right of the Christian community to run educational institutions of their own and to form their members according to their own religion and culture is guaranteed by the Constitution. Subsequent decisions of the Supreme Court too have reaffirmed this right. Hence the admission and spiritual care of Catholic students should be given the highest priority in our institutions.

Our Christian sense of mission compels us to give a preferential option to the poor and the marginalized, and for the education of their children ...While the self-reliance of every institution is a desired goal for every diocese and congregation; while good results, good sports and success in co-curricular activities create enthusiasm in the students and motivate them for better performance; service to the poor is an absolute value.

Most educational congregations have been founded only for the education of young people who are poor and destitute. Before this goal everything else becomes secondary. Experience shows that those who plunge in boldly in favour of the poor always receive unexpected assistance from Providence. There is something unexplainably true about this fact. In order that such ventures may be successful, however, we should create an atmosphere where the poor will feel at home...

Some people relate `quality education` merely to good results... However, a Christian understanding of excellence in education is far more holistic... `Quality education` has to be understood also contextually. Young people who come from village or slum schools, may not rise to great heights in the academic field immediately. Good results are not everything. Elimination of candidates for the sake of winning impressive results is not a part of `quality education`. The skill of the educator consists in drawing each person according to his/her ability and competence to the levels that he/she is capable of at a given stage of his/her growth. We must not forget that persons like Lincoln, Shastri, and Kamaraj rose to greatness from humble backgrounds...`` (Archbishop Thomas  Menamparampil in  Mission Today, April-June 2007)


``The word education has almost become a bad word in some parts of India, thanks to commercialisation. We believe that we evangelise by educating and educate by evangelising. This, however, is not automatic but the result of a decision.  The beneficiaries of our educational institutions must be, by a deliberate decision, those who are left behind by modern economic progress. Earlier we pioneered so-called quality education, perhaps also with a view to creating an elite that would serve society. This requirement does not seem to exist today. Under changed circumstances there is need for courageous decisions in our educational ministry.  We do not need to compete with other prestigious institutions, providing additional facilities to the already privileged, so as to keep our niche in a traditional society. The fact that we can do something well is not necessarily the reason for doing it. It is also a challenge to our creativity and zeal to use the enormous opportunity our already well established institutions offer us to witness to Christ and the gospel values effectively to young people, exactly when they are open to such values`` (Paul Vadakumpadan, Mission in the Northeast, p.201-202).  

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