The contribution of the Indian Catholic Church in the field of Education

An Educational Institution that is established and administered by the Diocese, Religious Congregation or a Catholic lay person or organization to impart education based on the Gospel values and the ‘All India Catholic Education Policy’, is a Catholic Educational Institution.

Organizational Set Up: Catholic Church is the biggest education provider in the world. In India, under the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India, the Catholic Church has 171 Dioceses, Divided into 14 Ecclesiastical Regions with a Regional Council of Bishops in each of the 14 ecclesiastical regions. The National Office for Education and Culture of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India is situated in Delhi. The national Office of Education and Culture is headed by a Chairman Bishop, two member Bishops and an Executive Secretary and staff.

Similarly in each of the 14 Ecclesiastical Regions in India too there is a Regional Office for Education and Culture with a Bishop in Charge, an Executive Secretary / Director and staff. Further down the line, in each of the Dioceses too there is a Diocesan Executive Secretary / Director and staff to look after all matters concerning Education supervised by the Bishop. This is the three tier organizational set up that takes care of the Education Ministry of the Catholic Church in India. All educational institutions whether they be Universities, Colleges, Schools or other Training institutions, whether run by the Dioceses or by the Religious Congregations, come under the jurisdiction of the CBCI Office of Education and Culture.

The CBCI Office of Education and Culture tries also to collaborate and network with the student organizations like the AICUF (All India Catholic University Federation), an association for College students, the ICYM (Indian Catholic Youth Movement) and YCS/YSM, a movement for Young Christian Students.

Affiliated to the CBCI Office of Education and Culture, there are also two Associations namely the ALL India Association of Catholic Schools (AINACS) and the Xavier Board of Higher Education. The All India Association of catholic Schools (AINACS) with a membership strength of about 2000 schools, closely collaborates with the CBCI Office for Education and Culture, by way of looking after the welfare and interests of the member schools through guidance, networking, animation and training programmes to improve the quality and competence of the Heads of institutions and the institutions themselves. This is done through a series of Training programmes conducted in different parts of the country and an Annual General Convention. The Xavier Board of Higher Education does similar activities for the benefit of the Colleges and Higher Education Institutions. They have a member ship of more than 300 Higher Education Institutions.

Activities of the National / Regional / Diocesan CBCI Office of Education and Culture:

  • To ensuring that the Catholic Schools in the Country whether established and administered by the Diocesan Founder Bodies or by the Religious Congregations, run according to the All India Catholic Education Policy 2007.
  • To interacting with the Ministry of Human Resource Department of the Government of India on a regular basis or whenever necessary to ensure that the Constitutional Minority Rights of the Christian Community and others to establish and administer their own educational institutions are not violated or compromised.
  • To act proactively with the government to see that the changing policies and legislations as and when introduced do not compromise with the interests, objects and vision of the Catholic Educational Institutions.
  • To initiate legal action if / when necessary, to protect the policies, personnel or Educational Institutions of the Catholic Church after assessing the situation and in consultation with the legal cell (CLAP) of the Catholic Church.
  • Visiting regularly the 14 Regions / Dioceses by the National / Regional / Diocesan Secretary / Director of the CBCI Office for Education and Culture to animate / train in order to implement effectively the “All India Catholic Education Policy 2007”, or to look into matters regarding the quality of administration/ management and services rendered.
  • To bring out publications / handbooks / policy statements regarding administration and management of Educational Institutions, staff quality or matters regarding the rights / protection of children and their welfare as and when required.
  • To initiate programmes / campaigns for students in our Catholic Institutions to sensitize and educate them to participate in Global campaigns to put an end to poverty, illiteracy, inequality, gender bias / other discriminations, addictions and abuses and climate change.
  • To interact and network with all Catholic Schools whether administered by the Dioceses or Religious Congregations so as to maintain and promote the Catholic quality derived from the Gospel values, in order to achieve a unified vision and mission of the Catholic Church in India as a united body to fulfill the mandate of Jesus “to go and teach…”.

Vision and Mission of the CBCI Office for Education and Culture:

“That all may have life and have it in abundance” (John 10:10)
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, He has anointed me to preach the good news to the poor, to proclaim liberty to captives, sight to the blind, and to set at liberty those who are oppressed”(Lk 4:18-19) Education is to teach the students to live, to discover the deeper meaning of life and of transcendence, to learn to interact with others, love creation, think freely and critically, find fulfillment in work, plan their future, or in one word to learn ‘to be’. It is in and through education that one can hope for a more human and humane future and a more harmonious society. (Consecrated Persons and their mission in Schools, 2002, 82-84)

Our Mission is to enable students:

  • To think for themselves independently and critically
  • To seek, extend and apply knowledge to solve human problems
  • To continually strive after excellence in every field
  • To become mature and spiritually aware persons of character and conviction
  • To value and judicially use freedom with a full sense of responsibility
  • To be clear and firm on principles and courageous in action
  • To be unselfish in service and concerned for the welfare of the poor and oppressed
  • To become agents of social change in one’s own situations.

“Education is to refine sensitivities and perceptions that contribute to national cohesion, scientific temper and independence of mind and spirit – thus furthering the goals of socialism, secularism and democracy enshrined in our Constitution”. (National Policy on Education 1986, 2.2)

Number of Educational Institutes in India
Number of Catholic Educational Institutes in India : (Total Number 54,937)

  • Medical Colleges & Universities: 12
  • Management Institutions: 25
  • Professional Colleges / Engineering Institutes : 300
  • Degree Colleges (Graduation) : 450
  • Junior Colleges : 5500
  • High Schools : 15000
  • Middle School : 10500
  • Primary School : 10500
  • Pre Primary School : 6000
  • Schools for Special Children : 350
  • Vocational Training (Technical Schools) : 3500
  • Boardings / Institutions for Street Children: 2800

Number of Teachers (Staff) : 26,96,850
Number of students: 5,19,48,600

The 14 Regions with Regional Bishops’ Councils with Regional Education Offices:

  • Agra Region
  • Bengal Region
  • Bihar Region
  • Chhattisgarh Region
  • Jharkhand & Andaman Region
  • Karnataka Region
  • Kerala Region
  • Madhya Pradesh Region
  • Northern Region
  • North-Eastern Region
  • Odisha Region
  • Tamil Nadu Region
  • Telugu Region
  • Western Region

Major Contributions of the CBCI Office of Education and Culture to the Church in India and to the Country:

  • Drew up the “All India catholic Education Policy 2007” which was promulgated at the Standing Committee meeting of the CBCI, in April 2002.
  • Ensured effective and methodological implementation of the Catholic Education Policy through animation and training conducted in the various Regions and Dioceses in India with the help 3 more handbooks viz. “Policy to Action Strategies”, “Indicators for Effective Implementation” and “All India Catholic Education Policy Handbook”, enabling the institutions to move from adopting the Policy towards implementation and certification.
  • Challenged the aspects of the “ Right to Free and Compulsory Education Bill 2009” that violated the Minority Rights guaranteed in the Constitutions and got a partially favourable verdict. Subsequently an amendment to the Bill also was obtained from the Government as a result of the efforts made by the CBCI Office for Education and Culture. Finally on 6th May 2014, a Constitutional Bench of the Supreme Court exempted all linguistic and religious minorities from the purview of the “Right to Free and Compulsory Education Bill”.
  • In response to the “Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO)” Bill 2012, passed by the Government of India, the CBCI Office for Education and Culture has brought out the “CBCI Child Protection Policy and Procedures” that can be readily implemented and used by any Catholic School belonging to the Diocese or to any Religious Congregation in order to ensure that all children studying in the Catholic Educational Institutions are protected from any type of child abuse. This Policy handbook was approved by the Standing Committee of the CBCI in September 2015.
  • Every year the National Secretary / the Regional Secretary or Director / the Diocesan Secretary or Director of the CBCI Office for Education and Culture makes it a point to visit the 14 Regions / individual educational institutions once or sometimes even twice to train personnel involved in education and to maintain the Catholic quality of the institutions.
  • Drafted on behalf of the Catholic Bishops Conference of India, Suggestions and Proposals towards the new National Education Policy, that the Government is planning to bring out by the year 2016. The proposals were drafted after consulting all the Bishops and Provincials and with the help of a drafting team of 20 Educationalists (Priests, Nuns and lay persons). The proposals were submitted to the Human Resource Development Minister in September 2015.
  • Launched a number of programmes for students studying in our Catholic Educational Institutions viz. Children’s Health Club, supported ‘Nine is Mine’ campaign to remove poverty, illiteracy and hunger, Follow up programmes and campaigns for schools as a follow up of ‘Laudato Si’ to arrest climate change, and promoted campaigns taken up by Action/2015 to create awareness and support the ‘Sustainable Development Goals’ etc.
  • Published a number of books to benefit / train those involved in School Administration and effective management of Catholic Educational Institutions.

Publications from the CBCI Office of Education and Culture:

  • All India Catholic Education Policy 2007 (Hindi & English)
  • Policy to Action- Strategies,
  • Indicators for Effective Implementation
  • AICEP Handbook (for evaluation & Certification)
  • The Teacher God's Special Helper
  • The Catholic School- Labour of love
  • Cultural Challenges in Christian Mission in the 21st Century
  • RTE ACT 2009 Challenges and Opportunities
  • Understanding Tribal Culture
  • Proceedings of the National Consultation on Education
  • CBCI Child Protection Policy and Procedures
  • The Sacred in Education

The Salient Features of the “All India Catholic Education Policy 2007”