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Educators in search of Indian-Christian educational excellence


By BIS Correspondent
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Kolkata, Jan. 2. Forty eight members of the Salesian College Sonada and Siliguri Faculty are spending three 'soul-searching' days, 2-4 January 2015,  at Visva-Bharati and Shantiniketan - the abode of peace - of Tagore fame, in West Bengal. The group is accompanied and led by the Principal  Fr (Prof) George Thadathil sdb, and the Vice Principal Fr George Chempakathinal.
Fr. Thadathil explains that this venture is an attempt to imbibe the heritage of quality in education as envisaged by Rabindranath Tagore, the sage of Bengal. He further clarified saying that the following are some of the questions the group is embarked upon to explore: ''What inspired the privileged and gifted Tagore to spend his most fruitful years in a remote village in the Bengal hinterlands? What brought artists and educationists from across the world to join him in the project of creating a 'viswabharati', a centre of learning and creativity? How can his vision be preserved and disseminated through educational institutions in search of excellence?''

The faculty will search answers for these crucial concerns along with the eminent scholars of the University in a dialogue. The three days will be spent by the group in a sort of Retreat, interacting with educationists of Shantiniketan. They are planning to have moments of silence around the prayer hall of Brahmo Samaj on campus, to imbibe the ethos and spiritual force that drove the creative genius Tagore. The group will also visit various locations of historical as well as contemporary significance so as to ignite the 'fire of wisdom' entrenched in every ''Teacher'' in search of contemporary relevance, both professionally and personally, in a world that is fast changing for their students.

Fr. Thadathil reiterated the rationale and significance of this happening situating it in the present, stating ''In the bi-centenary year of Don Bosco's birth, reinventing education for an Indian student population taking on the heritage of two categories of resources, Christian - with Don Bosco's stamp, and Indian - with Rabindranath Tagore stamp, has urged us on this project as an Institution declared 'College with Potential for Excellence' by the New Delhi University Grants Commission.''

Salesian College, Sonada & Siliguri, affiliated to the North Bengal University, and run by the Salesians of Don Bosco of Kolkata Province since 1938, educates over 300 students in B.A., B.Com & B.Sc studies and has the status of CPE (College with Potential for Excellence) awarded by University Grants Commission (UGC), New Delhi for 2014-2019.

Shantiniketan (Abode of Peace) in West Bengal, about 212 kms north of Kolkata is renowned for  the Visva-Bharati University founded by Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore, with its unique educational system born from his visionary ideals modeled on the lines of the ancient Indian Gurukul system, with central premise that learning in a natural environment would be more fruitful and enjoyable.
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