Goa: Church & Government on Collision ?

August 23, 2013 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

No grants for Goa’s English schools

Goa's English schoolsGoa, August 22, 2013: The state govt. has decided to give grants to schools with Konkani and Marathi medium.

Goa’s Archdiocesan Board of Education will not have Konkani and Marathi medium of instruction in their pre-primary schools even as the state government has decided to give grants to schools following the two languages.

The ABE, which has many schools with pre-primary section, has decided to continue with English as medium of instruction.

That the government’s decision has not gone down well with the ABE, can be surmised from the strongly worded communiqué that it has sent to the Department of Education (DoE) yesterday.

It has stated that pre-primary is the base for primary education and since most of the constituents under the ABE impart education in English at the primary level, it “will continue to impart education in English at the pre-primary level as well.”

The Goa government’s circular states that grants will be given to pre-primary schools where the medium of instruction is in Konkani or Marathi and is likely to hit the Church-run schools in Goa considerably.

Fr. Joe Rodrigues, ABE secretary, refused to comment but confirmed that ABE has written to the Education Department on the two issues – grants to pre-primary if education is imparted in Konkani or Marathi and on appointment of counsellors in schools.

While the ABE has appreciated the intentions of appointment of counsellors in schools and considers it as the need of the hour, it has impressed on the education department to allow it to appoint its own counsellors, rather than they being thrust upon their institutions by the government.

According to ABE, it has already appointed counsellors who are well qualified for its Church- run schools wherever requested.

– oheraldo

Church accuses Goa government of bypassing village assemblies

Goa, August 22, 2013: It was tantamount to a “divide and rule” approach at a village level, it said.

The social arm of the Catholic Church in Goa has said that the state government is muddled as far as grassroots democratic concepts are concerned.

The Council for Social Justice and Peace (CSJP), which functions as a grassroots social organization of the Church, also said the state government was trying to bypass basic Panchayati Raj principles in the decision-making processes.

“The Council hereby reminds the government that elected representatives are voted into public office to govern on behalf of the people and not to reign over them. Therefore, the gram sabha must also have their due share in any consultation on laws and policies which are ultimately for the benefit of society,” said Fr. Savio Fernandes, CSJP executive secretary, in a press statement.

Attempts to bypass gram sabhas or “village assemblies” from decision-making were tantamount to a “divide and rule” approach at a village level, he warned.

Accusing the state government of pitting gram sabhas against the elected representatives of the village panchayats, the priest said, “The Goa government seems to have got its fundamentals on grassroots democracy greatly muddled.”

The Church’s comments come at a time when the state government has asked all elected members of panchayats and zilla panchayats to make suggestions in order to amend the Panchayati Raj act and other issues related to grassroots governance.

Fr. Fernandes said leaving the gram sabhas out of the loop and the amendment processes would defy the principles of the grassroots-empowering legislation.

The Goa government has been at loggerheads with gram sabha bodies in several of the nearly 200 village panchayats in the state over the past few years over issues related to real estate development norms and mining regulations.

The Church in Goa is an influential socio-religious entity because nearly 30 per cent of the state’s population is Catholic.

– firstpost

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