The first record of movement for promotion of Catholic education traces back to the Report of the Working & Standing Committee on Oct 26-31, 1956, which states - "Catholic representatives attended the Delhi All India Educational Conference in 1955, where they made their presence felt with the election of Fr. Balaguer, S.J. as the Vice-Chairman of the Conference."
The Second National congress of the All India Catholic University Students’ Federation was held at Bangalore from May 18-20, 1956 – 1700 delegates from all over India participated.
The theme of the Congress – For a Better World
First light of the Commission:
The decision of setting up of various C.B.C.I.Commissions like the Apostolate of the Laity Commission, the Education Commission, Social Action Commission … was taken at the General Meeting of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India held in Delhi on October 13-20, 1966. In this meeting Archbishop L. Raymond, Archbishop of Nagpur was elected as the Chairman of the Commission and Bishop L.T. Picachy, Bishop of Jamshedpur and Bishop A.R. Sundaram, Bishop of Tanjore were elected as members of the Education Commission.
The first meeting of the Education Commission was then held on September 16 & 17, 1967, at Archbishop’s House, Nagpur under the Chairmanship of Archbishop L. Raymond, Archbishop of Nagpur. The following were present:
Archbishop L. Raymond, Archbishop of Nagpur
Rt. Rev. A. Sundaram, Bishop of Tanjore
Rt. Rev. L.T. Picachy, S.J., Bishop of Jamshedpur
Mgr. S. Aranjo, President, Xavier Association of Secondary Schools,
St. Germain High School, Bangalore-5
Fr. M.M. Balaguer, S.J., St. Xavier’s College, Bombay-1
Bro. John, S.G., Provincial, Purulia Road, Ranchi.
Sr. Moira, A.C., Secretary, Xavier Board of Education in India,
St. Agnes College, Mangalore-2
The Agenda for the first meeting:
1.The trend towards Nationalisation of Schools Decisions agreed on this agenda were – That all efforts at nationalisation of our Schools should be resisted by insisting, before courts, on our constitutional rights to have and administer educational institutions of our own.
2.Joining hands with the Protestants in educational matters Decision agreed upon this agenda was - It may not be desirable to link ourselves with the Protestants in all matters
3.Teaching of Religion in Schools and Colleges:
Recommendations on this agenda were – Teachers of Religion should be adequately trained
Teachers trained in Catechetic should be rewarded with a suitable remuneration and to provide for a modern treatment of the subject.
That, especially in Colleges and the higher classes of the Schools, teachers should enter into close contact with their students and adapt the syllabus to their needs.
Moral instructions to be done in Schools and Colleges using suitable books and group discussions
Counselling in Schools and colleges to be done by trained counselors (Priests and Nuns). Teachers training institutions managed by Catholics would do well to provide suitable training in Counselling.
4.Regional Language at the University Stage: The commission agreed on the subject of Regional Language at the University stage.
5.Institutions for handicapped children: The Commission felt that a general recommendation in favour of Institutions of this type could be usefully be made.
Other subjects discussed were as follows:
Neglect of the humanities and excessive concentration on Science in present University courses seems to be partly responsible for the growth of a materialistic outlook. It was felt that given the present over crowded Curriculum in our Universities, not much could be done in favour of a more balanced syllabus until some colleges at least become autonomous.
Care of School and College students outside Catholic Institutions. It was felt, that while Catholic Institutions should show themselves generous in granting admission to Catholic students, there will still be need of a greater number of Schools, Colleges, hostels and chaplains.
Decreasing number of Catholics Government posts: The Commission felt that it would be good to encourage our Catholic Students to enter Government service, even to the cost of personal sacrifice in the interest of the Church and the country at large.
At the end of the meeting, Archbishop Raymond expressed his gratitude to all present for their competent assistance, and asked for suggestions about a possible increase in the number of advisers. The meeting was terminated with the vote of thanks to the Chairman, by Mgr. Aranjo, on behalf of all.