The Catholic Church is the largest education provider in the world and in India it is only second to the government. The Catholics account for a miniscule 1.55% of the mammoth 1.3 billion population of India. At the time of Independence India’s literacy rate in 1951 was 18.33%. It steadily rose to a hopeful number of 74.04% as per the government data of 2011 national census. According to this data, a 25.96% of this 1.3 billion population does not have any access to primary education. It is not a commendable record for any government as the development of the nation and the standard of living of the people greatly depend on the education provided to the people.
The Daughters of the Sacred Heart stepped their first foot in the South Indian state of Telengana in 2010 responding to the invitation of the Bishop of the Diocese of Khammam. We were entrusted with the care of the Sacred Heart English Medium School at Danavaigudam. It’s at the suburbs of the district headquarter town of Khammam. 2020 is the year of the decennial celebration of the school. The sisters who are at work at present in the school are happy at this milestone, however, are into a deep introspection of the effectiveness of our mission.
Sacred Heart English Medium School certainly gives us numerous reasons of joy. As it is the primary step of evangelization in a pluralistic country like India, through our involvement in the field of education we are into the nation building as well. Our pioneer missionaries of Telengana were Srs .maia paul,paulin,jesty and shybi who undoubtedly laid a very strong foundation to our mission in this humid and hot land. And then came Srs sophy, jishi ,Sonia, smitha, movin and sheela- who fortified the mission into what we are today. Though it is not a big school, the presence of our sisters make the school very special and it obviously is the first choice of parents when they think of their kids’ education.
The society our school caters to consists of very poor and low income earning people. They have aspirations like any other Indian parent in to give their children the best education possible. Even while the condition of government schools in South India is far better than the rest of India, the medium of English has been the main reason for parents to prefer a private school over government school. Schools run by various groups and individuals are plenty in all corners of the state, however, making profit has become their primary motive. In this scenario the catholic schools play a vital role.
We are aware of the existence of widespread poverty in India. People try hard to make the both ends meet. They do not have a huge amount for the education of their children. They however want to educate their children in any of the good schools. Thus our school becomes the primary choice here. We are aware of our Lord’s mandate to caring for the least and we charge a very meager school fee which is insufficient most of the times to meet the needs of the school. The selfless works of our sisters have made it possible to rise over all inadequacies and propel our school into the best upcoming school in the locality.
People demand a lot from the catholic schools. They expect the best care for their kids. They expect highly qualified teachers. They expect perfect discipline, excellence in curricular, co-curricular and extra curricular activities. They want the best infrastructure. They want all these by paying the least amount of money. That’s why they are rushing to our school. And we are very well aware that we stand for all these.
Bookish knowledge doesn’t make any student a better human being. We have realized it well. Students’ involvement in the process of education alone can bring far reaching consequences. While we make sure that the classroom teaching and learning take place flawlessly, we also engage our students in manifold activities which will mould their character into kind and responsible human beings. In the recent past, we in India have witnessed purposeful efforts to divide people into us and them. Now it is the duty of our schools to teach the students to exist harmoniously and thereby blurring those lines which divide people.
‘Reward and punishment’ are those golden words of educators. We put in place a system where reward weighs more than punishment. Every single achievement the students make is aptly rewarded. Teachers painstakingly prepare their own reward cards. They give it to the students every time they did something that would seriously deserve a card. We have seen students gleamingly flaunting their cards at home, at school and everywhere they go. They are proud of their school. Absence of rewarding has been made the biggest punishment in the school.
Our foremost care is invariably given to our tiny tots. We catch them as little kids. Moulding them into fine citizens should begin from the kindergarten. Just like their elder friends these kids are also continuously monitored for their cleanliness, fine behaviour and personal discipline.
Five of us in the community are happy at our school. From dawn to dusk it is our world. Each day we go to sleep with a sense of accomplishment. Jesus wanted little children come to him. He wasn’t happy with those who stopped them from coming to him. As consecrated individuals to Him we never forget, it’s our duty to bring all children of the world to Jesus. And we do it and we mean it when we say we do it.