Catholic Teachers Play Crucial Role of Spreading Tolerance in India

Conclusions of Meeting Promoted by the Episcopate

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BANGALORE, India, MAY 21, 2003 (ZENIT.org-Fides).- Catholic teachers in India have an important role in social context: can help create a national conscience based on the values of harmony, tolerance and solidarity.



The above was affirmed during a meeting for Catholic school teachers organized by the commission for Education and Culture of the Catholic bishops' conference of India. Some 62 delegates representing 32 dioceses gathered in Bangalore to reflect on the theme "The Role of Catholic School Teachers in the Social-Political Scene of India."

Bishop Charles Soreng of Hazaribag, head of the commission, said: "Through our Catholic schools we are able reach out to numerous families in our country. If teachers are aware of their mission, the effects on students will soon be seen. Our teachers will only be appreciated if their lifestyle is in keeping with that of Jesus, the greatest teacher of all."

Qualities of a good teacher, according to the study groups, include integrity, honesty, optimism, ability to communicate, spirit of humanity, and an attitude of understanding towards pupils.

The bishops' commission presented the teachers with a pastoral education plan, which will be given to all 148 of India's dioceses, requesting comments and practical suggestions. The plan underlines the role of teachers at this stage in the country's history.

"Our classrooms are places in which the future of the nation is being built," the message states. "This calls for an inter-cultural vision on the part of educators. A Catholic teacher must be able to foster integration and harmony and build an atmosphere of mutual trust and respect among the different cultural components with which he or she comes in contact."

The bishops' document says school programs should be based on the values of tolerance, dialogue, and solidarity.

During the meeting it was decided to consolidate the Association of Catholic Teachers of India affiliated to the World Union of Catholic Teachers, a body recognized by the Holy See's Congregation for Catholic Education.