One Solitary Life made a big difference in the world: Christmas Message

One Solitary Life made a big difference in the world: Christmas Message
                                                                                                                                       Dr. Davis George
"Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy. ... For to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord."  (Lk 2:10-11). Like the unnamed and fortunate shepherds, let us too run to meet the One who has changed the course of history.
Nearly two thousand years ago in an obscure village, a child was born of a peasant woman. He grew up in another village where He worked as a carpenter until He was thirty. Then for three years He became an itinerant preacher. This man never went to college or seminary. He never wrote a book. He never held a public office. He never had a family nor owned a home. He never put His foot inside a big city nor traveled even 200 miles from His birthplace. And though He never did any of the things that usually accompany greatness, throngs of people followed Him. He had no credentials but Himself.
While He was still young, the tide of public opinion turned against Him. His followers ran away. He was turned over to His enemies and sentenced to death on a cross between two thieves. While He was dying, His executioners gambled for the only piece of property He had on earth – the simple coat He had worn. His body was laid in a borrowed grave provided by a compassionate friend.  But three days later this Man arose from the dead – living proof that He was, as He had claimed, the Savior whom God had sent, the Incarnate Son of God.
Twenty centuries have come and gone and today the risen Lord Jesus Christ is the central figure of the human race. On our calendars His birth divides history into two eras. One day of every week is set aside in remembrance of Him. And our two most important holidays celebrate His birth and resurrection. On church steeples around the world, His cross has become the symbol of victory over sin and death.
This one Man’s life has furnished the theme for more songs, books, poems and paintings than any other person or event in history. Thousands of colleges, schools, hospitals, orphanages and other institutions have been founded in honor of this One who gave His life for us. All the armies that ever marched, all the navies that ever sailed, all the governments that ever sat, all the kings that ever reigned have not changed the course of history as much as this One Solitary Life. Over the centuries millions have found a new life of forgiveness from sins and peace with God through faith in Jesus Christ.
Jesus had no servants, yet they called Him Master. Had no degree, yet they called Him Teacher.
Had no medicines, yet they called Him Healer. Had no army, yet kings feared Him. He won no military battles, yet He conquered the world. He committed no crime, yet they crucified Him. He was buried in a tomb, yet He lives today. It has been said, “Jesus could be born a thousand times in Bethlehem, but all in vain unless he is born in your heart and in your life.” The prophesy made 700 years before the birth of Christ has come true, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
(Is 9:6)  May the Prince of Peace and the Saviour of the World fill your heart with his presence and peace today and every day of 2012. Merry Christmas.

WWME: Fathers in Love, Mothers in Love, Families in Love

Challenges of Catholic Schools in India

Challenges of Catholic Schools in India
(Talk given at the National Conference of Don Bosco School in New Delhi on 24th of September 2010.)
By Dr. Fr. Davis George

1.      A tribute to the Religious.
·         “You are the treasure, wealth and heart of the Church” - John Paul II.
·         Salesians: Bench mark in School Education.
·         Don Bosco: Our vocation is graced by a special gift of God: predilection for the young “That you are young is enough to make me love you very much”.  For their welfare we give generously our time, talents and health “For you I study, for you I work, for you I live, for you I am ready even to give my life.” “Preventive System” as a means for carrying out our educational and pastoral service.  How true, “It is better to build children than to repair people.”

·         “If we work on marble, it will perish;
      If we work upon brass, time will efface it;
If we rear temples, they will crumble into dust;
But if we work on immortal souls,
If we imbue them with principles;
With fear of the Creator and love of fellow men,
We engrave on those tablets something,
Which will brighten all eternity.” ~ Daniel Webster

2.  Educational Apostolate and Evangelization.
·         Jesus the Teacher: our model and inspiration.  Faith, Commitment, Prayer.
·         Vocation and not profession.  Transformation + Empowerment.
  • Relationship with Christ is the key to effectiveness in educational apostolate. (Jn 15:1-6) Catholic Principals help the person and message of Christ find expression in…

2.1 Vatican II on Education: Declaration on Christian Education
Among all the agencies of education, the school has a special importance.  By virtue of its very purpose while it cultivates the intellect with unremitting attention, the school ripens the capacity for right judgment, provides an introduction into the cultural heritage won by past generations, promotes a sense of values and readies the pupils for professional life.  By creating friendly contacts between students of diverse temperament and background, the school fosters among them a willingness to understand one another.  Moreover, the school sets up a kind of center whose operation and progress deserve to engage the joint participation of families, teachers, various kinds of cultural, civic and religious groups, civil society and the entire human community.

2.2 All India Catholic Education Policy 2007
The Policy advocates the equally essential social and societal transformation, as a major goal and mission of our education.  Being Christian is essentially an invitation to become a person of faith, hope and love.  It is a summons to form communities of solidarity, and of justice and equality, at the service of all people, especially the poor and the marginalized.  As CBCI proclaimed in 2000, we are committed to “a new society built on justice, peace, love and harmony: a civilization of love”. 

3.   India: The emerging superpower with deteriorating moral standards
“India is an emerging Asian superpower. From high technology to the creative arts, India is rapidly becoming a global player” said Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam. According to the World Bank, India is now in top 10 economies of the world. India finally has started acting as the technology superpower in the “new world” where countries become superpower by virtue of their technical strength and capability and not colonial wealth.  Its dominance in the service sector has been acknowledged world over.

3.1 Corruption
Medical Council of India President: Dr. Ketan Desai on 22nd of April 2010.
 “The earth has enough for every man's need, but not for every man's greed.”  (Mahatma Gandhi) Corruption is widespread in India. India is ranked 85 out of 179 countries in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index, although its score has improved consistently from 2.7 in 2002 to 3.4 in 2008. Corruption has taken the role of a pervasive aspect of Indian politics and bureaucracy.

3.2 Poverty/Illiteracy
Even more than 60 years after independence from almost two centuries of British rule, large scale poverty remains the most shameful blot on the face of India. India still has the world’s largest number of poor people in a single country. Of its nearly 1 billion inhabitants, an estimated 350-400 million are below the poverty line and 75 per cent of them in the rural areas. More than 40 per cent of the population is illiterate, with women, tribal and scheduled castes particularly affected. “It is inconceivable that poverty eradication can make much headway in the absence of major advances in literacy”, said Koïchiro Matsuura, UNESCO Director-General. Swami Vivekananda said, “So long as millions live in hunger and ignorance, I hold every person a traitor who, having been educated at their expense, pays not the least heed to them.”   Through Value Education Classes we can make our students aware of their social responsibility.

3.3 Violence and Terrorism: Khandhamal.
“An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind,” said Mahatma Gandhi. Terrorism is violence or threatened violence against people and property to coerce or intimidate governments or societies to achieve political, religious or ideological purposes.  In fact, all such forceful acts should be treated as terrorism. While terrorism is a specific threat in other democracies, in India it is part of our present political culture. But, there is not even adequate awareness in the country about the nature of terrorism that is affecting the whole country.

3.4 Caste and Religion based politics
“Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely”. To gain political power people are ready to divide and rule. Power is no more for service but to amass wealth and propagate one’s own family and name.

3.5 Communal harmony and National integration
 “Many Religions, One Nation.”  “From Kashmir to Kanyakumari, we are one.” And yet communal violence and terrorism based on religion and caste take upper hand many a time destroying the secular fabric of the country. In reality, religion divides but spirituality unites.

3.6 Seven Sins According to Mahatma Gandhi
1.     Wealth without Work - Refers to bribery, corruption, black marketing & financial evils around us today.
2.     Pleasure without Conscience - Our conscience dictates what is right and wrong. Pleasures need to be regulated and filtered through our conscious sense of responsibility.
3.     Science without Humanity - If science and technology were used for the benefit of mankind that would make this world a better place to live in.
4.     Knowledge without Character- Along with knowledge we must cultivate basic human qualities, like – fairness, kindness, fellow-feeling and dignity.
5.     Politics without Principle - If there is no principle (in politics); there is no true worth, nothing you can depend on.
6.     Commerce without Morality - Business must be based on trust and collaboration along with win-win Principles.
7.     Worship without Sacrifice - Every religion advocates primordial virtue and sacrifice. Selfishness is the root cause of all evil.

How true, “The world has achieved brilliance without wisdom, power without conscience. Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants. We know more about war than we know about peace, more about killing than we know about living.” - Louise Fischer

3.7 Education Commission Reports:
The importance of value education has been duly recognized by different education commissions and committees appointed by the Government. The Radhakrishnan Commission (1948), The Secondary Education Commission (1953) and The Sri Prakasa Commission (1959) highlighted the need for moral education in all the educational institutions. Kothari Commission (1964-66) felt, "A serious defect in the school system is the absence of provision for education in social, moral and spiritual values.”  National Policy on Education (1986) felt, "The growing concern over the erosion of essential values and an increasing cynicism in society has brought to focus the need for readjustments in the curriculum in order to make education a forceful tool for the cultivation of social and moral values.”  Programme of Action (NPE) (1992) recommended, "The framework emphasized value education as an integral part of school curriculum. It highlighted the values drawn from national goals, universal perception, ethical considerations and character building. August 26, 2009 was a red letter day for the children of India as “the Right of Children to free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009” received the President’s assent.  Education became a fundamental right of every Indian child between the ages of 6 and 14.  Dr. Manmohan Singh, the Prime Minister of India, calls it a “path-breaking Right”.  The Act has become operative from April 1, 2010.  On the one hand we must all welcome the Act without any reservations, while, on the other, find ways and means to make sure that it is implemented in letter and in spirit.

3.8 The UNESCO International Commission on Education
THE UNESCO International Commission on Education for the Twenty-first Century headed by Jacques Delors has identified "learning to be" and "learning to live together" as two among the four pillars of education. They connote some of the fundamental values education tries to impart in any society. "Learning to be" addresses the question of development of the inner capacity of the individual, which will prepare him or her to meet social and political responsibilities. "Learning to live together" would involve the creation of a harmonious life, transcending sectarian loyalties and differences. As Educators we must translate this dream into action to build a better country and world.

4.  Catholic Schools: Prospects and challenges
·         Significant contribution in Nation Building and yet, Arun Shourie and the like!!!
·         Impact factor on National level?? United we stand divided we fall. Time to revisit. Loyalty and Gratitude? Selfish intellectual giants??
·         Time to act: NOW.
·         “All who have meditated on the art of governing mankind have been convinced that the fate of the empires depends on the education of the youth." Aristotle

4.1 Be an effective Leader: Centrality of Leadership in Schools.
       The Principal is the pivot around which the whole administrative system revolves.
·      When schools have good leaders, they become leading schools.
·      Outstanding schools have effective Principals.
·      Effective Principals develop outstanding schools.
·      Crisis of leadership Church Personnel/Teachers

      The message for future School leaders is very clear:
·      Improve quality (TQM)
·      Involve in constant learning. In service training for Teachers & Mentoring: Case Study.
·      Connect and Believe in Synergy.
·      Focus on the processes. Teaching-Learning Process.
·      End the era of routines.
·      Encourage participation and interactive & TEAM-oriented activities.
·      Paradigm shift: From result oriented to transformation oriented education.
·      Not just information but ‘Transformation’.

The quality of nation depends upon the quality of its citizens. The quality of its citizens depends- not exclusively but in critical measure-upon the quality of their education. The quality of their education depends, more than upon any other single factor, upon the quality of their teacher.” These words of the American Commission on Teacher Education cannot be over-emphasized.

As the Ministry of Education document Challenge of Education: A Policy Perspective (1985) has mentioned, “Teacher performance is the most crucial input in the field of education. Whatever policies may be laid down, in the ultimate analysis, these have to be interpreted and implemented by the teachers as much through their personal example as through teaching-learning processes”.

4.2 Faith Formation & Professional Studies: Kingdom Values, Bible Class (2Tim 4:2)
  Admission for all Catholics.
  Help students to encounter Jesus as their personal Saviour.
  Train catholic leaders who witness to their faith in the Church and in the world. I.A.S.; I.P.S.; I.F.S.; Technical and Professional Studies.  

4.3 Value Education: Discover the Power in the Wings and Strength in your Roots
“What we are today is the result of what we valued yesterday….. What we will be tomorrow will be the result of what we value today....”  Excess of knowledge and power, without holiness, makes human beings devils.”  “They alone live, who live for others, the rest are more dead than alive.”- Swami Vivekananda “Literary education is of no value, if it is not able to build up a sound character.” - Mahatma Gandhi

The National Institute of Educational Research of Japan drawing upon the deliberations of six regional workshops with UNESCO, it has figured out a case of twelve moral values.  These are: caring for others, concern for the welfare of the society, nation and the international community; concern for the environment; concern for cultural heritage; self-esteem and self reliance; social responsibility; spirituality; peaceful conflict resolution; equality; justice; truth and freedom. One of the ways to impart values through education is to design a course on human values and make it a part of the curriculum. How true, "If a man carefully cultivates values in his conduct, he may still err a little but he won't be far from the standard of truth" (Confucius). “Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make man a cleverer devil.” (C.S. Lewis)

4.4 Inclusive Education: Include the excluded. Best to the least. Commitment to the marginalized –   accompany to the end.
·         Radical Paradigm shift in the admission policy in favour of the economically poor and marginalised. Creation of the corpus fund for the education of the marginalised.
·         Provide for Residential education to the poor and marginalised where needed.
·         Establishment of good quality schools in the remote, rural areas.
·         Address the problems of the drop outs. ‘No more drop outs from our schools’.
·         Create a school complex where good quality school reaches out to the less developed schools in the neighbourhood to improve the quality of education for the marginalised.
·         Respond sensitively to the educational needs and concerns of the marginalised in the neighbourhood.

4.5 Holistic Quality Education: Make everyone a winner in areas of his/her competence.
·         Make education more skill based to develop student competency in the modern world.
·         Critical Appreciation/Use of Media and involvement in the media.
·         4H method (Head, Heart, Hands and Habits), School Assembly; (Case Study), Soft Skills; ASK
·         PQ: Body awareness and skillful use;
·         IQ: Maths and Verbal Intelligences.
·         EQ: Managing ourselves and our relationships well.
·         SQ: Inner wisdom guided by Compassion.  Equanimity (Inner and Outer Peace).
·         HQ: Happiness Quotient.

4.6 Involvement of the Stakeholders.
  Administration: Participatory, collaborative and democratic
  Transparency and accountability to all stakeholders
  Net working with Salesian institutions and other educational institutions and agencies.
  Students, Teachers, Parents, Alumni, Society, Industry.

4.7 Family Life/Education to Love/HIV-Aids/Counseling to Parents/Family Visits.
  Appropriate education for responsible parenthood; create awareness on gender inequality, domestic violence, divorce, girl child, child labour, human rights, women empowerment, illiteracy and other social evils.   Neighbourhood concerns.
  Conscientise the students about the dangers in the society which are affecting them adversely like drug addiction, alcoholism, HIV, AIDS, etc.
  Each one teach one. ( Give Grade)

4.8 Promote Eco-Spirituality: Copenhagen Climate Change Summit (06 – 18 December, 2009)
·         Creating effective awareness to conserve earth’s resources and promote their responsible use: Ecological Stewardship.
·         Inculcating eco-related healthy habits like personal health and hygiene, saving energy and water, waste management, etc.
·         Each one, plant one. ( Give Grade)

4.9   Democratic and Social aspirations of the Country:
  • Preamble of the Constitution:
  • WE, THE PEOPLE OF INDIA, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a SOVEREIGN SOCIALIST SECULAR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC and to secure to all its citizens: JUSTICE, social, economic and political;
  • LIBERTY of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship;
  • EQUALITY of status and of opportunity; and to promote among them all.
  • FRATERNITY assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the Nation.

4.10 Inter Religious Dialogue: Communal Harmony and Peace.
·      “A new society built on justice, peace, love and harmony: a civilization of love.”

5. Conclusion: Ignite the big dream.  
·      You can make a difference in the world.
·      Leadership through example
·      SMART Goals: Strategic planning, implementation, evaluation.
·      Create leaders, not followers; Widen the circle of influence
·      Star Fish.
·      Even the Eagles need a Push!
·      Yes, YOU can.
·       “You Must Be the Change, You Wish To See In the World.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi

The Documents of Vatican II - Although the Church is concerned primarily with the spiritual and supernatural destiny of man, it recognizes the intimate connection between that destiny and “the whole of man’s life”. 
Pius XI, encyclical letter “Divini Illus Magistri,” loc. cit., p. 76; also Pius XII, allocution to the    Association of Catholic Teachers of Bavaria, Dec. 31, 1956: “Discorsi e Radiomessaggi,”
Paul VI, allocution to the International Office of Catholic Education, Feb. 25, 1964: “Encicliche e Discorsi di Paolo VI”.
Policy to action strategies, Fr. Kuriala Chittattukalam Sdb & Fr. Joe Arimpoor Sdb.
All India Catholic Education Policy 2007.
A Guide to School Administration, Kuriala Chittattukalam Sdb.

Dr. Fr. Davis George, Principal, St. Aloysius’ College (Autonomous), Jabalpur-482 001.
Accredited A+ by NAAC, College with Potential for Excellence,

Tel: 0761-2629655 (R), 2620738 (O), 09425152081(M.)
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