Rev. Mother Leema Rosario, M.A., M.Ed., M.Phil., Ph.D
Education in its current form is concerned with the transmission of knowledge. A quality education has the power to transform individuals and societies. W. B. Yeats exhorts Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire. Some people interpret quality in education as academic excellence as seen in marks. I see it as integral development of the individuals as well as creating a sense of responsibility towards the world around Jawaharlal Nehru, in his address to the graduates of the Allahabad University in 1947 said, Higher Education stands for humanism, for tolerance, for reason, for the adventure ideas and for the search for truth. It stands for the onward march of the human race toward higher objectives. These words focus on the formation of character. Education should not be an activity that involves only uploading information to the students. But it should be a noble mission in which character is formed and the intellect is expanded. When they leave our institutions they should be competent, committed and compassionate persons. Education is the manifestation of the perfection already in human. Ultimately each one should work towards a society in which peace; justice and love rule the supreme.
Higher Education ought to free young to be themselves with the power to discern, to challenge, to appreciate, to be positive and different and to be fully human and fully alive. The ultimate goal of education is the insertion of the young person into society as responsible citizen. Education institution plays an important role in articulating and imparting value systems. They help students to develop their talents, form their character and establish personal identity. They also facilitate social interaction and inculcate social responsibility.
We, the sisters of St. Anne, do not start colleges for materials gain. We consider always that our education is a noble mission in which the students undergo all around formation. We take preferential potion for the girl who hails from the marginalized section of the society. It is with this intention we establish colleges. We receive this vision from our Mother Founderess Thattipathri Gnanamma. She contemplated over the situation and empathized with women of her time in the 19th century who deprived of education and thus marginalized. She discerned that all her energies should be employed to dispel the darkness that enveloped the poor girls in Kilacheri village, Tamil Nadu. She lit the candle of education and enlightened the women to stand the challenge of life. The most important act that Our Mother Foundress did at that time was to listen to the cry of the poor girls and become compassionate to form them into competent and committed people.
Informs the current trends and knowledge in all the fields, i.e. Science, Art and commerce. And this makes our students as informed people. This information and knowledge..
Re-forms their character by exposing them to proper and appropriate social reality. This reformation finally..
Forms our students into competent, committed and compassionate persons. And gives them a form that enables them to be employable, reliable, and skillful persons.
In this case, the education of St. Anne's is to INFORM appropriate knowledge in order to REFORM their character, to TRANSFORM them as competent; committed and compassionate persons.
Today's world is Wikipedia world. It is a Google world. If we want information, if we need a definition of word, it is available at the click of a key. Access to knowledge is easy today. The problem we face is that we do not know what to choose from the loads of information. It poses a challenge to our skill and talent. We are called to discern and choose appropriate, reliable and accurate information and knowledge. Discernment is to identify What is good, appropriate useful and what is not. Our education should teach this sense of discernment. Not only mere information of data. We should be information about the people who suffer oppression and face injustice and the reasons for their suffering. Arm chair education is not useful to create a better world. Our education should be linked with the reality outside. This information has the quality that help reform one's character.
The information we gather in the class room should be able to reform the character of student. It is a re-forming act. It forms the person again. The way, the students are brought up in families may not be always good. Therefore the knowledge which a student gains in the college must purify her. Hence re- forming is like the goal that is put in the fire. It undergoes a melting process. In this way, education aims at liberation. It is liberation from bondage. It is liberation from ignorance. It is liberation from backwardness and gravitational pulls of the lower human nature. This process of liberation happens when you read a book and when you watch a film. When a book explains an idea you engaged with idea. There the process of growth starts. Automatically there is feeling within that guides towards a change. Now you feel yes, I need to change. It should come from the bottom of the heart, not a head level rational thinking or intention. Every teaching session should give you this feeling. If there is no such feeling to change it is not real education. This feeling to change leads a student towards transformation.
The information and reformation that a student goes through should further take her to a process of information of her character. This is why education in India viewed as an evolutionary force. This evolutionary force enables both the individual and the collectivity to evolve various faculties and to integrate them by the superior intellectual, ethical, aesthetic and spiritual powers. It aims at developing a new type of humanity highly humans, cultured and integrated. This, I considered makes a person to be competent, committed and compassionate person
Competent should be treated as being intelligent. It is not intellectual gain. But competency is a talent and ability to face with needed skill and knowledge. A student who learns computer skills should be able to gain employment-I call as employability. The competence we talk here means not only employability. But it is also an ability to handle life in a mature way. Competence is a state of maturity of personality.
Committed person is single-minded person committed to a goal and an aim. She is a passionate to achieve that goal. She is not the person who thinks of neither nor, but either or. She has definite goals and decisive actions. She breathes that goals and sleeps with that and dreams of achieving that goals. This is single-mindedness. Our higher education should teach us to become single-minded persons, committed to a goal and passionate that goal.
Competent and committed person should also be a compassionate person. Committed person is naturally other-centered person. Committed person thinks that the wellbeing of others is more important than mine. This makes a person self-less person and other-full person. This value automatically takes this committed person to work for social change where every tear is wiped out and every oppressed person is liberated. It comes from the formation she receives in her college time.
Our education should aim at information of appropriate knowledge, reformation of person and formation of character. If education produces only the people with good character, it is useless. What is important is that they should also be capable of improving the economy of the country by inventing innovation ways of technology. This is the responsibility of students. It is an ability to respond to situation, to find ways to resolve conflicts and to produce new technology. At the same time, a student must strive to promote a well-balanced human personality, for the good of society in this world.
We, the sisters of St. Anne, are committed to this kind of quality education. We want to inform appropriate knowledge, reform the person into competent, committed and compassionate person. Finally, our students will be able to transform this society. Our colleges will work towards this defined objective, the Charism of our congregation. This makes us stand above the rest.