Hyderabad dreaming: Catholic University
To transform the approach and access to higher education
There should be no compromise on our responsibility, accountability and transparency,” Archbishop Bala told 172 delegates coming from various parts of the State, representing various dioceses and congregations.
Archbishop Thumma Bala of Hyderabad asked members of the Association of Catholic Educational Institutions of Andhra Pradesh (ACEIAP) to dream about a Catholic University in Hyderabad. “If we together, it could become a reality sometime in the future,” he said.
The archbishop was addressing the inaugural function of a two-day workshop on Good Governance and Catholic Education Policy-2007 at St John’s Regional Seminary, Hyderabad on February 8.
“The CBCI has given policies on education. We need to implement them. Our education must be the best in all aspects—with academic excellence, value-based and aiming at all-round formation of the students.
Mr. J Raymond Peter, Principal Secretary for Social Welfare of the Government of Andhra Pradesh, delivered the keynote address.
Pointing to a crisis in governance in the national and state-levels he said that in spite of the Central Government spending Rs 62,000 crore on education, it was not achieving the expected results as learning outcomes and minimum learning abilities are not attained by the majority.
Moreover, poor inspections and standards, bad practices for boosting results and performance are the bane of education system. For various reasons there is high dropout rate among the students. As such, there is the need for reforms—academic, governance and financial– in the education system. This workshop, therefore, should empower institutions for grounding reforms.”
The Government official noted the following as strengths of Catholic institutions: Valuable Real Estate and Infrastructure, old Brand Name, proximity to Vatican / international missionaries and its overarching direction, respected and qualified Faculty, Institutional Governance and Operational Structures and Practices, large Network of Institutions in India and religious and value education.
Dr John Dayal, member of the National Monitoring Committee for Minority Institutions said, “more than Rs 3,500 crore is earmarked from the government just for the education of Christian children from primary to doctorate and foreign studies in the next six years.
If only the Church and laity wake up and help. He regretted that still the majority of the 160 bishops in the country had not translated the Catholic education policy of “preferential treatment of the poor” into action in their dioceses”, he said.
Dr Cyriac Thomas, member of the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions said, the gift of life and gift of knowledge are the best divine gifts given by the Lord to man. The challenge of our contemporary times is a quality decline at the top echelons”, he said.
In any pattern of good governance, the person at the top should have proven qualities. And in any system of good governance, give respect and take respect should be the fundamental principle and acknowledge style.
Prof Shanta Sinha, chairperson of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights described the Right to Education Act as radical and revolutionary. Its aim is to transform the approach and access to education making it universal and mandatory for 8 years education of every child. If children do not go to school they are dragged into labour market. She said adults generally exercise power and authority over children. But, she stressed the need to treat children equally and more than equally.
Dr C Narender Reddy and Mr Anand Kishore, Consultant, Teacher Education Test also addressed the participants.
Montfort Social Institute collaborated with ACEIAP in holding the seminar. Earlier, MSI Director Bro Varghese Theckanath, explaining the dynamics of the workshop, said today Catholic educational institutions were facing acute challenges. In the perspective of good governance the challenges could be turned into opportunities.
Association vice-president Sr Maria Leena welcomed the participants and ACEIAP general secretary Bro Show Reddy proposed a vote of thanks.