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Delhi minority schools seek ways to protect constitutional rights 

By Matters India Reporter

New Delhi: Heads of more than 40 minority schools in the national capital met on September 2 to seek ways to remain alert to attempts to erode constitutional freedoms and protections provided to such institutions.

They belonged to the Forum for Minority Schools in Delhi and Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas, secretary general of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI), brought them together.

The meeting at the CBCI Centre “was a step towards creating a joint platform for exchange of ideas and concerns relating to minority education institutions,” says a press release issued by Bishop Mascarenhas, who is also the conference’s spokesperson.

The meeting, the prelate noted, came as these institutions have gone to the court challenging orders of the Delhi government’s Directorate of Education regarding refund of fees. The minority schools also face statements and policy matters regulating admission and staff administration and other concerns. These moves affect the constitutional freedoms and protections provided to such institutions, it added.

Bishop Mascarenhas, in his opening remarks, clarified that the meeting an apolitical gathering to find ways and means to improve the minority educational institutions’ vigilance in their housekeeping and their watchfulness against attempts to prune and clip minority rights. “We must have our consciences clear and really work for society but at the same time we must also assure that our minority rights are protected,” he added.

The forum chairperson, V K Williams, recounted the many positive contributions of Christian schools in nation building over the past 200 years. He highlighted how the previous draft of the National Education Policy of the federal Human Resources Development ministry was flawed in its concept and design. “It was highly retrograde and its implementation would have damaged the educational fabric of our nation,” he noted.

Father Joseph Manipadam, secretary of the CBCI Office of Education, shared some silent changes being introduced into education in different states, cautioning all present that what may appear to affect one kind of educational set up, would soon affect others. The Salesian priest cited the example of NEET for medical colleges, observing such control may happen to engineering colleges as well.

Romy Chacko, a leading lawyer, asked all schools to approach the High Court regarding the implementation of the Anil Dev interim reports. Many aspects of the accounting principles the committee has used have created confusion, requiring each school to seek individual review.

Apart from Christian schools, Sikh and Jain educational institutions also attended the meeting.

Bishop Mascarenhas indicated several larger consultations in future with many more schools participating to ensure the protection of the rights of minority institutions.

The meeting suggested setting up a Minority Board of Education such as central boards for secondary education.

“This meeting is another attempt of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference to engage civil society and likeminded citizens in facing the various challenges cropping up in the country,” the press release explained.

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One Response to Delhi minority schools seek ways to protect constitutional rights

  1. Thakapan Vaidhyar

    I think cbci is now, one of the helpless forum. Are these office bearers searching some majority group to stand along with them? Earlier cbci was a voice of truth, voice of the voiceless, prophetic in style, noble in intervention.
    If minority schools and colleges of the church were for the minority, Why most of the Christians are still under education, why students who came out of these institutions are not compassionate and honour as their Gurukula to be protected by them?
    It is sheer bluff, money making institutions, misusing some of the genuine Catholic priest’s and nun’s dignity, thrown to fight for money to run their congregations,
    Is the Catholic Church’s law permits priests and nuns to take up professions like this? (Genius are they, they will have 101 answers to say untruth as truth) What is the difference between laity and clerics in church? I wonder. Church in India will have lot of persecution not for church’s mission but for protecting institutions.
    Indians respect Christianity and it’s services (mother Theresa is still in the hearts of Indians even to the fanatics with honour) Don’t talk of minority in India as if in some gulf countries.

    When govt move on to freedom of abortion, most grave sin according to Catholic Church we don’t find these secretaries to invoke a seminar on it and challenge govts wrong steps etc.

    Please avoid terms like cbci, Christian minority, education apostolate etc. For using pressure group’s power. Please humbly request bishops: don’t shoulder with this morally less value movements, u will have to answer in the instant future for your shortsightedness.

    200 years history was of foreign missionary schools, that was really asset to our nation and dioceses, all know it including secular people. It is a dream of any Indian to study there. Christianity is safe to great extent due to memories of such missionary services in the past. Senerio is changed (poor bishops far away from realities)
    That name is still miss used for convent schools, whose charisma is never education. It is lost brand, because management is changed, every day there is huge real alagations about these Catholic institutions, no cbci send delagates to find the truth, keeping all hidden and fooling people through gatherings.

    Sorry Jesus to tell openly because they are not understanding besides all these happens around them.