CATHOLIC EDUCATION IN THE ARCHDIOCESE: BUILDING MEN AND WOMEN OF CHARACTER
June 17, 2015
“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character - that is the goal of true education.”- Martin Luther King, Jr.
This is the philosophy advocated by the Archdiocese of Bombay. Every year, through the 133 SSC schools affiliated to the Archdiocesan Board of Education, approximately 25,000 students of all faiths sit for their Secondary School Certificate exams. This is about 12% of the total number of students who appear for the SSC Board Exams conducted each year by the Government (approximately 2,00,000 students overall in Mumbai).
The overview of the results, given here, shows very clearly the impact of Catholic/ Convent Education:
These are remarkable statistics indeed. Our schools cater mainly to the poor and weaker sections of society and many of those who are educated in our schools are first generation learners. It is a matter of pride that our schools are making a serious impact on nation building, by contributing towards a literate India. What is edifying to note is that 57 schools have reported 100% results and another 56 have obtained a pass percentage between 95-99 %; just 12 schools obtained below 95%.
It is also very edifying that, though we are 2.5 percent of the total population of Mumbai City, we still contribute 12 percent in terms of those completing their school education. We promote an educational philosophy that involves ethics, character building, the formation of model citizens and genuine disciples of love – this is what we believe, this is what we teach. One of the hallmarks of our education system is inculcating gender sensitivity in our children, as also a reverence for the environment. And we are overwhelmed by the demand for our ‘convent education’.
Since the Education Consult held in 2004, various initiatives have been taken in schools, which belong to the Archdiocesan Board of Education. Significant among these are: the Value Education Courses implemented in our schools through the Archdiocesan Value Education Centre (AVEC), the training of teachers to be counsellors, and training in remedial education. Measures are being instituted to deal with the government’s changing policies, in order to ensure that our rights as a minority are protected. We have also striven to implement the Right to Education (RTE) Act. In fact, even before the RTE Act, the Church has focussed on giving the poorest of the poor basic education through its initiatives in the non-formal education as well as the formal sectors. Outreach to the poor and needy is implemented through granting admissions, encouragement and support through facilities such as hostels, tuitions, food supplementation and monetary help.
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