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When schools get lessons from politicians


Our institutions are increasingly under pressure for admissions by politicians especially after the RTE Act. Given below is a report from yesterday's HT for your reading.

Gordon D'Souza

President - The BCS


A few days ago, a senior Catholic priest explained to me why he had decided to step down as the manager of a parish school in Jacob Circle after running the institution for more than five years. Father Joseph D’Souza had run schools in New Marine Lines and Mankhurd for nearly 10 years before moving to St Ignatius High School at Jacob Circle.
“Politicians are always after Catholic schools. Parents do not want to even pay computer fees and take every little dispute with the school to politicians who use the complaints to terrorise us. Everybody is fed up; I wanted to step down and do something less stressful,” said D’Souza, who is now waiting for the city’s archbishop to give him his next assignment.

Gordon D’Souza, president of community group Bombay Catholic Sabha, said that while politicians have been an old source of trouble for their schools, the menace has been growing lately. “Politicians want to win popularity in their areas, and schools run by us are an easy fodder,” said D’Souza. For a group that forms around two per cent of the population, the Christian community provides education services in a scale much disproportionate to their numbers. Though, with the corporatisation of education, many private-run schools have now moved into the

elite space once occupied largely by Christian-run schools, the latter are still thronged by aspiration-driven families seeking ‘convent’ education for their children.
“It [the harassment] happens across the country. There are schools that are run by corporate groups, but our schools are targeted because we provide a value-based education accessible to every income group,” said Father Joseph Manipadam, secretary for education in the Delhi based Catholics Bishops Conference of India (CBCI), the apex decision-making body of the Catholic Church in India.

In Mumbai, apart from the Jacob Circle School, Canossa Convent High School, Mahim; Holy Cross High School, Lower Parel; and St Joseph High School, Umarkhadi, have been recent targets of politicians who have tried to meddle in trivial disputes over fees between parents and school managements.

Father Constancio Noronha, manager of Holy Cross High School, said, “This is a problem we face every year. There is a lot of pressure on us, as we cannot take in all the children who apply. Those who do not get admissions go to politicians who try to find some loopholes in law to target us,” said Noronha. In case of Noronhna’s school, a local politician warned the school against implementing the Right to Education (RTE) Act which they said was snatching seats from local students. “The act requires us to reserve 25 per cent seats for poor students, but the politicians wanted these seats to be given to local students. It is a pathetic situation,” said Noronha.

The RTE Act, with its objective to help children from poor families, has noble intentions. Unfortunately, in many cases, said Manipadam, it has become another tool to bully schools run by the community. The CBCI is now seeking an amendment in the act to get all schools run by minority groups exempted from the act.

“The act now says that only unaided minority institutions are exempted from provisions (to reserve 25 per cent seats for children from poor families) the act. We are saying that by denying us complete freedom to manage our educational institutions, the government is violating our constitutional rights as minorities,” said Manipadam, who added that they are in the process of preparing the draft of a memorandum that they plan to submit to Parliament.

Kundapur: Harmony personified - 44 couples wed at multi-faith marriage ceremony

Silvester D'Souza
Daijiworld Media Network - Kundapur (DV)

Kundapur, Apr 28: Sarvadharma Sauhardha Samilana Vedike, Gangolli organized an inter-religious conference and multi-religious free mass marriage programme at S V Pre-University College Ground on Sunday April 28. The religious meet was inaugurated by Udupi astrologer Vidwan Kabiyadi Jayaram Acharya, Thokottu Juma Masjid Kathib Mohammed Kunnhi, Belgaum Diocese Bishop and Karnataka State Catholic Bishop Peter Machado who blessed the occasion. As many as 40 Hindu, 2 Muslim, and 2 Christian couples tied the knot.

Praveen Shetty of Fortune Group, UAE presided. K Ismail Musliyar of Kirimanjeshwara Haklebailu Juma Masjid and William Martis, convener of inter-faith committee, Udupi diocese, distributed the ‘Mangalasutra. Anand C Kundhar of Kota Janatha Fish Mill distributed the rings, while Narasimha Poojary, businessman of Goa, distributed the clothes.  On this occasion, an ambulance was handed over to the Gangolli 24*7 helpline.

Udupi district united Jamath president N Abdul, A D Lima, priest of Gangolli Church, Suresh Shetty of Pratham Group of Companies, Mumbai, Ravindra M Pai, chairman of Udupi Diana film theatre,  Bangalore businessman V K Mohan, Kanthu Manjunath Karvi, businessman in Gangolli, Mumbai businessman Prabhakar Ugrani, retired health inspector Kalife Younis, Subramanya Sherugar, president, district government employee association, Abdul Rahman Byari, and J M Raffiq were the

chief guests at the inter-religious conference held on the occasion. M M Ibrahim of Quality Foods, Goa, and Narasimha Poojar of Goa Gun Bounty, were felicitated on this occasion. Ibrahim presented the introductory note. Diwakar S Kharvi welcomed, Kallani Model School students offered prayer.

Addressing the gathering, Bishop Peter Machado said, “Human relations are unified by God and it is not possible to separate them. Let us resolve to live unitedly and forget all misunderstandings. There should not be any discrimination on the basis of caste or sects among people”.

Jayaram Acharya said that all religions preached harmony and we are all one. “We should create an environment for our children where we give the message that we are heading towards one religion. It is necessary that we live together, united forever,” he added.

Mohammed Kunhi said, “Religious harmony should be cultivated in the minds of children. The cancer called communal violence should be rooted out and we should do the work of connecting hearts. In all religions, the place of worship is a center of solace, hence the sense of harmony should be developed from there.”

Film actors like Marconi Manju, Pawan, Vanishri, and Lakshmi were present on the occasion.

Empowering Children through Children’s Parliament

Mumbai, Apr. 27. (BIS via CNUA)

Bosco Gramin Vikas Kendra (BGVK), Ahmednagar has been venturing out into new avenues time and again. This time the staff and community are working on setting up Children’s parliament in about thirty villages. The group that will benefit from the venture is made up of children below the age of eighteen years. Children’s Parliament an organisation/movement for children. It is a forum that gives a chance to the childen to `speak for the children, by the children and of the children.` It serves as a platform for the children to develop leadership skills, confidence, team spirit, analytical skills and maturity.

Through a process built on parliamentary democracy the Children’s Parliament work towards establishing a casteless, secular, egalitarian and non-violent society at the neighbourhood to global levels. The initial process required for setting up a Children’s Parliament is that of choosing a village and letting the children elect their own ministers by following Sociocracy election method. According to the needs of that village, different ministers are elected like Prime Minister, Finance Minister, Home Minister, Education Minister, Sports Minister, Speaker and Health Minister, etc. They function at different levels. Representatives from different levels federate to form a network.

Thus, a structure is formed to operate from below for the children to participate meaningfully and adequately in issues that affect them. They collectively analyse local problems with a global perspective and evolve solutions. They execute their actions with the help and guidance of adult members of their communities. The process involves also continuous monitoring and evaluation of their own activities. In this way, children continue to involve in addressing their own problems and the problems of their village. In order to help children function better, a two day training camp on various leadership skills, capacity building and personal growth is being held in BGVK itself.

The children will also learn to hold the parliament sessions. They will learn to discuss the problems and issues that affect them as well as their village. The camp is going to be a kickstarter to forming and running the Children’s parliament. It is hoped that the BGVK venture is going to help the children to become conscious of their rights and responsibilities as children as well as to enable them to grow to become good citizens of India, desirous of fighting against Violation of Children’s Rights. -

Moodbidri: Eric Correa's Souharda Nagar II becomes home to 31 families

Daijiworld Media Network – Moodbidri
Moodbidri, Apr 21: April 20, 2013 will go down as an important day in the lives of 31 families of beneficiaries of Souharda Nagar II of phase I project of Puthige Village in Paladka, who were handed over the keys to their dream houses at the formal inauguration ceremony held at Souharda Nagar on

April 20, 2013 evening. The beneficiaries with their family members in toe, were handed over

the house key pinned to the miniature version of “akki mudi” (rice packed in haystack) which is believed to bring good omen in a new house. The keys were handed over by none other than the benefactors who were responsible for the project to become a reality. Not content just by handing over the keys, these benefactors extended their financial support and cooperation for the phase II of the project and demonstrated that it is humanity that takes precedence over all other aspects of human life.

Inspiring Gesture

NRI entrepreneur and philanthropist Ronald Colaco, whose charity work and generosity is universal knowledge by now, once again showed his bounteousness of spirit by agreeing to pay other Rs. 20 lakhs for the Phase II of the project at this colony. It may be recalled that Ronald Colaco had donated Rs. 20 lakhs for the first phase of the project which was inaugurated today and his financial support proved to be the guiding force for Souharda Foundation to go ahead with the project and complete it in time. By agreeing to make another vital contribution to the IInd phase of the project, Colaco has demonstrated that he is the true champion of charity. It goes to the credit of Colaco that his charity work is quite infectious inspiring many others to be generous for work related to public cause.

Similarly, another NRI businessman Frank Fernandes who had contributed Rs. five lakhs for Phase I, has also agreed to pay Rs. 5 lakhs for the Phase II. Frank Fernandes is also another well known name for charity and he has once again shown his true concern for the

charitable work he is well known for. Builder and developer Ronald Monteiro who is one of the benefactors of the project who had donated Rs. 20 lakhs for the first phase of the project, also assured his continued support in future also for the project.
Ronald Colaco formally inaugurated the function with the unveiling of the “Souharda Nagar” name board in the presence of a large number of dignitaries and beneficiaries and their relatives and friends who had gathered at the colony for the inauguration. The two roads of the colony are named after the two big donors namely ‘Ronald Colaco Road and “Rohan Monteiro Road” as mark of their largesse. Frank Fernandes unveiled the board of Colaco Road and czar of the cooperative banking sector M N Rajendra Kumar unveiled the board of Rohan Monteiro Road.
In his inaugural speech Ronald Colaco lauded the efforts of Eric Correa, the brain and the energy behind the project, saying he (Colaco) has been highly inspired by the Souharda Nagar I project undertaken by Eric Correa singlehandedly. Colaco stated “Bill Gates and Rupert Mudroch have contributed 50 per cent of their profits for social service. Azim Premji of Wipro has also donated 25% of his earnings to charitable cause. I have not gone to their level yet in terms of charity. But Eric Correa has surpasses us all by donating 75 per cent of his profits for charity. He is a role model to us all”.

Colaco also pointed out that there are lots of families which are struggling to lead a decent life and we have many social organizations have been working for their upliftment and betterment. Usually such organizations are run by the Christian missionaries and their greatness lie in the fact that they uphold humanity above all, irrespective of caste, creed, race or religion.

Considering that it is election time Colaco gave a suggestion to the assembled people to exercise their franchise in the forthcoming assembly elections. He said “Constitution has given us the right to vote. Exercise your right and secure your and families future for the next five years by choosing a candidate who you feel is able to bring about the development of the constituency by bringing in necessary grants, someone who can responds to your needs and requirements. While casting vote go by the individual personality of the candidate and not by the party he/she represents”.

Do charity for any reason, but do it anyways: Salman

Gurgaon, May 2 (IANS): Do charity and do it directly, suggests actor Salman Khan, who contributes to various social activities through his charitable organisation Being Human.
Salman, 47, was present Wednesday at the launch of new campaign The Little Hearts, which aims at curing 500 children suffering from heart ailments. Being Human has joined hands with the Fortis Foundation for the initiative.
"Everybody does charity, but not everybody likes to talk about it. Some may do it for personal benefits, to stay in the limelight or others might do it genuinely. According to me, you may do charity for any reason, but do it anyways. No matter what the intention is," Salman told reporters here.

Under the programme, 42 children have already been treated and eight are currently hospitalised in Fortis. When it comes to donation, the "Dabangg" star feels it's even better to do it first hand.
"Rather than going and giving money to a place where you don't know how it will be utilised, it is better to make direct charity like funding a child's education. At least you can see the results yourself," he said.

The actor also launched a Being Human store in the hospital, which has clothing line for men and children.

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