The Catholic Church, which owns the second highest number of education institutions in the country, has asked the government to form its new education policy focusing on teaching values and probity in public life without being religion-specific.
In its proposal to the Human Resource Development (HRD) ministry for its new education policy, the Church claimed that the present system was deficient in ethical and moral components.
Further, the Church said that the new policy should nurture diversity, inclusiveness and secularism as well as divergent and critical thinking among the students.
The suggestions given to the government, which is expected to announce its new education policy in the coming two months, also included proposals like moderating fee structure, creating corpus scholarship fund for the marginalised, scrapping of all-promotion beyond Class III, evaluation of teachers once in three years and the creation of a national service for teachers to give them mobility on the lines of the civil services.
The proposal was prepared by the Education and Cultural section of the Catholic Bishops Conference of India (CBCI) — the apex decision making body of the Catholic Church in India.
“Amid growing incidents of intolerance in the country, it is essential that the education system focuses on value education and stands for Constitutional values,” said Father Joseph Manipadam, Secretary, Office of Education and Culture.
“What we want to have is inclusive education,” he told The Indian Express.
The CBCI team submitted its suggestions to Minister of Human Resource Development, Smriti Irani. According to Manipadam, the minister listened to them for almost an hour and forwarded the suggestions to her office to be incorporated in the draft policy.
Urging the government to protect the secular nature and minority status of the educational institutions, the document suggested that minority schools — both aided and unaided — should be exempted from Right to Education.
It said that while the curriculum should be able to develop scientific temper, spirit of inquiry, sensibility to safeguard public property and abjure violence, the examinations should be made more flexible and integrated with life situations.
“Scientific research, academic development, technological development etc should be based on inalienable rights of the Indian citizens of all beliefs and practices,” the document added.
The suggestions also stressed on inculcating value education.
“On account of deficient attention to one’s duty and responsibility vis-à-vis our people the conclusion is clear: those ethical moral components/values that everyone does his or her task and perform are deficient in our educational system,” said the document.