Triennial Conference of the CBCI affiliated Xavier Board of Higher Education in India,
an Association of Catholic Higher Education Institutes, held at DBI Guwahati
The three days’ Triennial conference of the Xavier Board of Higher Education in India, held from the 13th to 16th September among the many relevant topics discussed took up the issue of the Draft NEP 2019 as well. Archbishop Thomas D’Souza, the Chairman of the CBCI Office for Education and Culture presided at the inaugural Holy Mass and inaugurated the Conference while Fr. Joseph Manipadam SDB made a presentation of the various concerns regarding education and stressed on the importance of being proactive and repositioning ourselves to be able to effectively fulfill the educational mission of the Church. The final statement drawn up at the end of the conference had the recommendations to the MHRD as given below:
Recommendations to MHRD from Xavier Board of Higher Education in India
Xavier Board of Higher Education is a registered body which represents the interests of the Institutions of Catholic Higher Education. It is the official organ of the Catholic Bishops Conference of India, which has over 500 Catholic Colleges in India.
We, the members of the Xavier Board of Higher Education in India numbering 175 from member institutions, from all over India, came together in solidarity from 13th September to 15th September 2019 to deliberate on “Revisioning Higher Education in India: Challenges and Strategies for Catholic Institutions” in Don Bosco Institute, Guwahati, Assam on the occasion of the 23rd Triennial Conference of Xavier Board of Higher Education.
We deliberated on “Democracy, Secularism and Education “, “A Critique of the National Education Policy – A Brief Too Far”, “The Church in the Face of the National Education Policy” and “Getting People to Think and Develop a Sense of Social Responsibility” among others. We also looked at the Academic and Administrative Audit, Net Working Among College, Universities and Use of ICT in Teaching Learning. Based on the deliberations and realizing our responsibility to the nation, we suggest the following.
We feel that the present political dispensation has been indifferent to the sentiments of the minorities and their needs. Hence, we feel it our obligation to suggest the following to the MHRD and similar institutions involved in higher education.
1) Though the Christians minorities have done yeomen service to the cause of education in India, we feel that the government could consider and respect our contribution and commitment to education. We request the government to include members of the Christian community also in their deliberations affecting educational policies and systems in India.
2) We feel concerned that the government is slowly centralizing most of the decision making, while the State governments are denied of their due rights. Education being in the concurrent list, we urge the government to respect the federal structure enshrined in the Constitution.
3) Education is a fundamental right of every citizen. We are concerned that the government is increasingly privatizing education and reducing the grants that are rightfully ours. We urge the government to release the funds that are the right of the institutions and make quality secondary education free for all.
4) We note with concern the attempt of the government to centralize all decision-making power, in all matters related to education and move towards a uniform system of education. We urge the government to respect the diversity and multicultural plurality of the country and desist from any move towards a uniform educational system in the whole of India.
5)These were discussed and approved by all the members present, in the triennial, unanimously.