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Jea annual meet 2014

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November 04, 2014

JEAEDUCATION - ‘New Delhi - Jesuit Education Association (JEA) of South Asia had a 3 days meeting at Nav Jeevan Renewal Centre, Delhi. The meeting began on the evening on 22nd October with Holy Eucharist. This Annual meeting of 2014 was significant in many ways. First, Fr. Norbert Menezes SJ (PAT) the veteran educationist, stepped down from the office after a decade long, selfless, dedicated, dynamic and visionary leadership to JEA. Second, Fr. Sunny Jacob SJ (JAM) took the leadership from Norbert in a solemn Eucharist presided over by the Provincial of South Asia (POSA), Rev. Fr. George Pattery SJ (CCU).

Thirdly, the meeting brainstormed on the issues affecting the educational scenario in general and Jesuit education in particular.

The well planned programme saw all the province co-ordinators placing their respective reports on the province’s present educational apostolate. The statistics of each provinces, followed by the initiatives and concerns elaborated through the SWOT analysis brought out the clear picture of Jesuit educational apostolate in the provinces. The report also helped each of the participant to know the strengths, weakness, opportunities and challenges of educational endeavours of each province.

In the meeting in Delhi, PCEs began their in-depth look at a range of issues, particularly how Jesuit school stake holders imbibe the Jesuit Legacy. It is interesting to know this legacy is used by many institutions around the world who have not even a remotest relation with the Jesuits. Yet in our own schools, those who teach and learn in the classrooms, sometimes seemed to be confused. What makes Ignatian education unique is a profound respect for the relationship of each person with God. St. Ignatius always looked at education practically. He wanted students to examine, ‘what is my education doing toward my living well in this world?’ Ignatius appreciated teaching and research, no doubt about that. But he always asked, “What is it going to do in terms for humanity and making this world better?’’

So for a Jesuit, Education is a means of bringing socio-economic, political and cultural transformation in a society. At the governmental level various measures are being taken to enhance the quality of education, which is the foundation of the progress of any country. For Jesuits education is perhaps the most important ministry. And therefore, rooted in the Jesuit tradition and understanding the spirit of government rules, standing for our Constitutional rights we need to work towards a better education in our Jesuit schools.

The reports were very comprehensive and realistic. It also expressed the future vision and the need for rootedness in our charism and tradition. One of the most distinctive elements of contemporary Jesuit education occurs in its refusal to separate values from academics. Although Jesuit institutions do not have a monopoly on injecting values into the classroom, they certainly are conscious of the process. In his book, the Road from La Storta, Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, S.J., former general of the Society of Jesus, writes, “Today, especially, it is impossible to teach material in an antiseptic surrounding; that is, all course materials and all disciplines either attest to or contest the values that dominate modern society. Justice and injustice, solidarity and compassion, protection of the environment and the acceptance of those who are different: all these are so many values that the educator will never be able to avoid if he wishes to examine the profound and the less superficial.

It is impossible to be aloof or impartial; everything constitutes a problem. Can an instructor be satisfied to communicate any kind of knowledge in abstraction from the values which that knowledge always includes?” Jesuit institutions walk a fine line in an era when bringing values into the classroom can be seen as a detriment or challenge to pluralism, multiculturalism and even academic freedom. Values supply an important component to the realm of Jesuit education. Ignatian education doesn’t have an ending. It opens people up to being lifelong learners.

The new Provincial of South Asia Fr. George Pattery SJ in his observation appreciated the JEA for their contribution to the South Asian Assistancy and urged them to be one unified body in their approach. He encouraged the educationists to keep up the dimension of learnedness in their work. Openness, critical thinking, collaboration at all levels, accountability, innovative approach in pedagogy and practice, and significantly we need to work keeping in mind education as a mission. Towards that we need to work for Zonal centers with full time co-coordinators with long term goals. He urged the JEA to contribute wholeheartedly to the forth coming GC 36.

Fr. Norbert explained the thrust of the JEA during the last ten years. Year by year, JEA took up relevant issues as part of our education. It was a scholarly presentation with apt clippings and handouts. Fr. Sunny placed before the PCEs the challenges and opportunities of Jesuit education today, and made everyone to think and reflect and come out with suitable solutions to the challenges, and consider every challenge as an opportunity for us to better ourselves as educational leaders.

The meeting took up some of the common issues that affect the South Asian education scenario and discussed them elaborately. There were two experts dealing with two relevant topics. One was Fr. John Ravi SJ, who presented a paper on Guidelines for providing a secure environment to safeguard children and adults in our institution.

Fr. George Peter SJ conducted a session on Integrated Education model in our campuses with vocational and non-formal education. JEA thanks them for their resourceful classes. Fr. Sunny asked the group to suggest an action plan for next year and there were very important and relevant steps were suggested. JEA will prioritize them and work out a plan which will be adhered by the province, Zonal, and JEA level. The members of JEA sincerely thanked Fr. Norbert as he stepped down from the office. As a body JEA remain grateful to Navjeevan Renewal Centre, St. Xavier’s Community at Raj Niwas Marg, and St. Xavier’s Community Sahanabad for their hospitality and support. JEA Secretary thanks Delhi PCE, Fr. John Ravi SJ for arranging the logistics of the meet.

Fr. Sunny Jacob SJ, JEA Secretary email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Source: Conference of Religious India Bulletin, October 29, 2014

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