Should the Catholic Community in Mumbai shut down its Schools?

Yesterday , an article appeared on  page 4 of the DNA newspaper under the heading FIR TROUBLE FOR ST.MARYS SCHOOL.Today the below mentioned article has appeared in the Financial Express.The school has been accused of  collecting funds like teachers’ benefit fund, primary teachers’ gratuity fund etc. Some time back another school in Khar was accused of also collecting capitation fees because they were collecting money for gratuity for its teachers.

Yes all of us want our children to be imparted a good education.All of us choose our schools and decide which school is best  for our children.If we look around and scan the newspapers at the time of admissions a number of our catholic schools are in the news for all the wrong reasons since certain politicians  recommendations have not been accomodated.
We have also read  stories of some persons faces being blackened when some of their persons recommended  have not been accomodated.Why have the English Medium schools run by the BMC and which these same persons control  shut down?The reason given is that there are no students.This shows that our schools impart an education of a much higher standard compared to these schools and hence are much in demand.

Catholics are just 3% in Mumbai.The fact is that  in any minority institution including our catholic schools /colleges 50% of the seats are reserved for catholics.This quota is never filled up in most city catholic schools except may be  schools in Malad,Borivli and Mira Road.If catholic seats are not filled up , it would mean that the beneficaries of these seats  are non catholics.

I happened to ask one of the constables who came to me for admission that why does he want admission in a  catholic school in Worli when his elder son was already in a school in Dadar.His answer was that the school in Dadar charges fees of Rs.24,000/- a year where as the school in Worli charges just Rs.600 per month.The fact is that our fees are one of the lowest in  Mumbai and yet we  are having problems.

To become a teacher in any secondary school one has to be a double graduate.What does a teacher earn by way of wages? Rs.15,000/-.

If teachers do not get gratuity who will want to be a teacher? Today a person who has passed his 12th Standard gets a salary of 20-25,000/- in a call centre.It is natural that fewer and fewer persons will opt to become teachers and the quality of education  in our schools is bound to fall.People do not want their children to go to BMC schools and yet are reluctant to pay  a small sum towards gratuity for the teachers.

Today education has become a business and a number of influential persons have started schools.Check up what their fees  and compare it with our catholic schools and one will realise that our catholic schools fees are a fraction of their fees ,yet we never hear of those schools  being slapped with cases.The reason being that at the time of the admission undertakings are taken from the parents.The Archdiocesean Board of Education should also conduct workshops and educate the Principals how fees are to be collected and under which head and  how it should be passed at the PTA meetings or at the time of admission.If the parents of the student community do not realise our goodness then  it is high time that we take a call whether it is worth keeping all our schools open ?

Why should our Principals go through the ordeal of having to be arrested and then having to take anticipatory bail? What happens if their anticipatory bail pleas  get rejected? Why should our Principals be put up in a lock up with other criminals ?

 Does the catholic community need so many schools ?

 Are our  schools buying us trouble?

 Are our Principals  being rewarded for their good work  in the educational field with arrest and then having to go to court and face  court cases? Is it our Principals jobs to go to Court and stand in the dock as an accused?

 In fact all our schools should be shut down for two days to protest against the discrimination meted out to the catholic schools .So also all schools where the catholic student percentage is less than 5% should be shut down and in its place colleges/other institutions which benefit the catholics should be started as this will directly benefit our catholic youth and will also mean less trouble.Buses could be arranged to take care of the balance catholic students  who are likely to be affected due to this arrangement.

It is my opinion that 10% of our schools should be shut down and converted into colleges which will directly benefit the catholic youth.

A.M.Sodder

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Thu, 28 Jun 2012

Directives to file FIR against St Mary’s School

Directives to file FIR against St Mary’s School

http://www.financialexpress.com/news/…to…;first-marys-school/967166/

DIPTI SONAWALA

Posted: Wednesday, Jun 27, 2012 at 0132 hrs IST
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Mumbai: The Director of School Education has instructed the education inspector, south zone, to file a first information report against the management of St Mary’s School, Mazgaon, which has been accused of collecting capitation fees from parents.“The school was given a month to refund the money it had collected. However, it did not follow the order and so as per the rule we have directed the education inspector of the south zone to file an FIR against the school management under the Prohibition of Capitation Fee Act 1987,” said Dr Shridhar Salunkhe, director of school education.The education department had de-recognised the school on May 24, 2011, following charges like illegal collection of Rs 1.45 crore and manipulation of examination results. The school challenged the order in the Bombay High Court, after which the de-recognition process was stayed for the current academic year on an appeal from the school. However,the school was asked to refund Rs 1,45,70,881 to parents. The order, passed on February 28, wanted the school to refund the amount within a month or face disciplinary action.Director of School Education and a hearing of the same was scheduled on June 19, but the matter was adjourned. We have not received any communication from the education department about the FIR to be filed,” principal Fr Baptist Pinto said.

According to the education department, it was found that the school had been collecting money from students towards fines and funds like teachers’ benefit fund, primary teachers’ gratuity fund, etc. The school also collected a lifetime membership fee for Parent-Teachers Association.

“Following the directives of the director of school education, we had written to the Byculla police station to register an FIR but it is yet to be filed. We are now consulting our legal department on the issue,” said Balasaheb Mane, education inspector, south zone.

The management had also moved court, in April, against the Director of School Education’s order asking it to refund Rs 1.45 crore collected from parents. “We have moved court against the order passed by theDirector of School Education and a hearing of the same was scheduled on June 19, but the matter was adjourned. We have not received any communication from the education department about the FIR to be filed,” principal Fr Baptist Pinto said.

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5 Responses to Should the Catholic Community in Mumbai shut down its Schools?

  1. Pietro says:

    30% of the schools need to be shut down,the first being st michaels mahim as a test case,we need to start nursing colleges,medical colleges,management colleges,catering colleges,engineering colleges,hostels for males,females,maritime colleges as soon as possible

  2. judith says:

    Catholic Schools are targeted every year by locals & politicial parties alike. Despite being fully aware that there are no more seats, morchas & goodaism goes on at the gates & sometimes even in the premises at school offices.

    A couple of years back Canossa Convent,mahim was at the receiving end (i think even the school walls were blackened by protesters), last year St Elias School was targeted. This year it is St Mary’s School. These schools were in the limelight so everyone is aware.What about the scenario at all Catholic schools every year ? it is common knowledge & a common sight to see a police van outside our Catholic schools at the time of admission. Does one see these police vans outside other schools too ? Maybe we should ask ourselves why not ?

    Last year too a call was given to shut down our schools in protest against the harassment to our Priests & Nuns. 2 weeks back a group of us warned a group of political partyworkers who came in a mob of 100 on 2 days & threatened the school authoities & premises. We told them that we would take a morcha to the Archbishop demanding that the schools be shut & used for other purposes like housing, etc for the community. We even questioned them as to why they did not lead a protest outside the BMC schools shut in the area.

    We see political partyworkers who have their children in the school but yet raise slogans supporting their party decisions. How many of our Catholics suport the very same schools that they & their generations have passed out from ? We have PTA’s in schools , where are these PTA members when the schools are attacked ? Try shutting the schools for a week & the parents will be the first to question the school; where are these same parents when the schoolis are attacked for weeks & the safety of their children attending school is at stake? If each Standard has 200 children , 10 standards will have a minimum 2000 studens, where are all the parents of these students when the school is being attacked while their children are in ? God forbid if a child gets hurt on the school premises the authorities & the safety measures adopted by the school are questioned & blamed, Why dont these parents question those attacking the school.

    Our Catholics too are to be blamed. When there is a problem in our lives we run to the priest / nuns to solve our problems. When the same priests / nuns are attacked for no fault of theirs other than a few handful, how many Catholics run to their rescue ? The problem lies in the “susegad mentality” of our Community. We take the “cowardly way out” while hiding behind the garb of “peace loving” & other such titles

    Do we really need so many schools even though our population is dwindling in the areas as the laity are moving to the suburbs ? “Charity begins at home” with our own members & then should sread to others. What charity are we doing if we are catering to others neglecting our own ? Our own are in need of food, shelter, are we fulfilling these needs of theirs ? Even if we cater to more colleges & institutions , to fill in the seats we will have the same admission rush , same problems, same accusations of bribes, etc. Why cant the spaces be used for providing housing facilities for our Community members – houses at affordable rates ? During my tenure as Trustee in Salvation Church, dadar; I had suggested that affordable houses be provided with preference given to those parishioners (& then other catholics) not already living on Church premises, with the help of banks loaan facilities for these houses could be made available. Besides, there are a no of Catholice who lost jobs in the mill strikes, etc suggestion was to open small scale job facilities for the men / women to help them earn a living – eg set up sewing machines in a room where the wommen can sew nighties, dresses, baby frocks, etc , cooking skills can be utilised & a tiffin service can be set up so that these peole would have at least some job at hand.. Basic typing / computer classes at affordable rates. Help in loan facilities so that our loess fortunate youth can join professional courses eg teaching, welding, refrigerator / machine / electrical courses or even banking courses.. Simle suggestions which can change the lives of our brethren. Can our Church authorities not implement such oportunities ?

    I hope the Church looks into providing for its Community – ie Charity begins at home & concentrates on upliftment of our Community members just as other Communities do.

    judith monteiro
    dadar (w)
    member AOCC

  3. What does our Cardinal Oswald Gracias have to officially say to this. What protection is being given to our catholic principals. I recall how last year I was called to help Sr Philomena of St Elias school Chium, Khar, Mumbai. She was left to fend for herself and there was a possibility of her being arrested. It was a lady activist , Fr Rui Carmel and myself that spent hours at the Khar Police station. Sadly there was no Archdiocese representative to help.She was left to the wolves.The parish priest was on a overseas vacation and I am told the office of the Archbishop was not even aware.

  4. Cyril Fernandes says:

    Instead of shutting down Catholic Schools, a Charge of Rs. 1000/- should be collected every year from non catholic students. This should be used as a Fund to give all our students FREE education irrespective of whether they are rich or poor. We have done enough GOOD to others, Now let them pay for CONVENT education.

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