New Delhi, January 18, 2012: Christian missionary schools have decided to jointly oppose the implementation of the controversial Right To Education Act.
“We should put up a joint fight against harassment in the name of RTE Act,”said Auxiliary Bishop Franco Mulakkal at a consultation for making recommendations to the government against the Act at Yusuf Sadan in New Delhi January17.
Fr Kuriala Chittattukalam, Secretary Catholic Bishop’s Conference of India’s office of Education and Culture, said the Constitution guarantees minorities complete freedom from government interference.
“According to Article 31 (1) of the Constitution, all minorities based on religion and language shall have the right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice,” he said.
Bishop Mulakkal, who is the Chairman of diocesan schools, said the schools should down shutters if they are targeted or unreasonable demands are made by the government.
“Let the parents decide on the next step. Let them come onto the streets and protest. That is the only language the government understands,” he said.
Principals of premier Christian-run schools gathered on the occasion, said under 25 per cent reservation for Economically Weaker Sections, they could only accommodate poor Catholic students.
They resented the provisions of random selection, doing away with punishments, compulsory promotion of students, neighborhood concept etc in the Act.
“No discipline spoils the atmosphere of the school and no failures affects the quality of students,” said Fr Lenny Lobo, Principal of St. Columbus School.
Bishop Mulakkal said “we don’t follow neighbourhood concept. We take children from parishes and diocese”.
The principals said Christian schools impart value-based and quality education and should be provided greater autonomy.
They said they were feeling the pressures of financial constraints because of the Sixth Pay Commission recommendations.
The institutional heads said they were not charging exorbitant fees unlike private schools and therefore finding it difficult.
Some of the congregational heads said the government should aid the schools they were running in the rural and remote areas.
Fr Chittattukalam said the community has asked for ten universities for minorities.
He said we also need a good research centre.
The prelate said “we have to claim our space” and make our voices heard.
The educators said all minorities schools should be aided.
- rita joseph