Triennial Conference of Christian Colleges – 2015

ALL INDIA ASSOCIATION FOR CHRISTIAN HIGHER EDUCATION (AIACHE)
TRIENNIAL CONFERENCE OF CHRISTIAN COLLEGES – 2015
Venue: Christ University, Bangalore
Dates: 29-31 January, 2015

I am extremely happy to inform you that the 17th General Body Meting of AIACHE Society and the Triennial Conference of member institutions of AIACHE was held on 29, 30, 31 January, 2015 at Christ University, Bangalore. The theme of the Conference was “Perspectives on Nation Building – A New Agenda for Higher Education”. The delegates, special invitees and resource persons came together to this Conference to contribute, share and learn their perspectives on Nation Building and to provide a New Agenda for Higher Education. This Conference was an inspiring experience of developing fresh strategies for Higher Educational Institutions in India. About 200 participants, which include, delegates, resource persons, guests, special invitees, volunteers from faculty and students, participated in this Triennial. The main focus of this Conference was:

  • The Role of National Commission on Minority Educational Institutions in strengthening the Minority Institution Profile in India.
  • Resource Mobilization for the Higher Education Institutions from India and abroad.
  • Channeling the aspiration of the youth in Higher Education Institutions for Nation Building.
  • Women- the Incredible Wealth of our Nation for Nation Building.
  • Spiritual Nurture in Higher Education Institution for Nation Building.
  • Human Values Development for Nation Building.
  • To prepare ourselves for a meaningful Golden Jubilee Celebration of AIACHE with a particular focus on Nation Building.
  • To bring in proposal for self sustainability of AIACHE.

The main resource personnel for the Conference were:

  • H. Devaraj, Vice Chairman, University Grants Commission, New Delhi
  • Glenn Shive, VP for Prorgammes, United Board
  • Ricky M. Cheng, Executive Vice President, United Board
  • Bienvenido Nebres, Ateneo de Manila University, Philippines
  • Most Rev. Dr. Bernard Moras, Archbishop of Bangalore
  • G. Dr. Yakob Mar Irenaios, Metropolitan of Cochin
  • Dr. Prasanna Kumar Samuel, Hony. Secretary & Bishop Designate, CSI Central Karnataka Diocese.
  • Rev. Dr. Isaac Mar Philoxenos, Chennai-Bangalore Diocese.
  • Paul Appasamy, Former Vice Chancellor, Karunya University
  • Wilfred Davidar IAS, Principal Secretary, Government of Tamil Nadu
  • Mrs. Shanthi Davidar
  • Fr. Joe Arimpoor sdb, Director, Don Bosco Animation & Research Kendra
  • Fr. Dr. Thomas C. Mathew, Vice Chancellor, Christ University
  • Most Rev. Prof. Dr.Rajendra B. Lal, Vice Chancellor, SHIATS-DU
  • Fr. Dr. Xavier Alphonse, Director, ICRDCE, Chennai

The General Secretary Dr. Daniel Ezhilarasu presented the Triennial report and also presented the various projects and programmes to be undertaken in the next triennium along with various methods of fund raising efforts to be initiated in future. There was also a brief report about the ‘Golden Jubilee’ celebrations of AIACHE to be held in 2016. The General Body accepted all the proposals and approved it unanimously. The President Rev. Fr. Leslie and the team members were profusely thanked for their excellent contribution in the last triennium.

Apart from the presentations there was a business session and the new team of Office Bearers and Executive Board Members were elected with Dr. R.W. Alexander Jesudas, Principal & Secretary, Madras Christian College, Tambaram as the President for the next triennium from 1st February 2015 to 31st January, 2018. The pictorial glimpses from the Conference are given along with this report.

At the end of the Conference, the following Statement and Recommendations were prepared which provides the Agenda for Higher Education which we hope to forward to the Government of India, Ministry of HRD and to the Hon’ble Minister and UGC.
CONFERENCE STATEMENT AND RECOMMENDATIONS

INTRODUCTION

AIACHE is a six-letter mantra, a talismanic power, a miracle that touches and empowers the lives of thousands of students, teachers and college and university administrators.
The resurgent growth of AIACHE from a low phase just a couple of years back to a glorious present is nothing short of a miracle. Its revival and dynamic growth is a synergy of human endeavor achieved through divine inspiration. Its success story has been made possible due to the proactive leadership of Dr. Daniel Ezhilarasu. For what can be more amazing than the fact that AIACHE has successfully organized as many as 36 programmes in the last three years.

The Triennial Conference of AIACHE has been literally a moveable feast of ideas covering a wide range of issues related to Higher Education and the role of AIACHE and member institutions. Essentially, the conference statement was drafted bearing in mind 3 components:

I. TO WHOM IS THE STATEMENT ADDRESSED:

  • Conference delegates
  • Home institutions and its entire community of stakeholders, the most important being students and teachers
  • Organizational Members of AIACHE
  • Denominational constituents of the Church
  • Collaborative Partners, the United Board
  • Government of India and its agencies of higher education like UGC
  • Well-wishers and friends of AIACHE world-wide

II. HOW DID THE STATEMENT EMERGE:

The conference deliberations covered a mindboggling range of issues related to higher education. A total of XI sessions was spread over 3 days, notching up 21 hours of talk, involving more than 150 thinking minds including Vice-Chancellors and Principals, 5 venues on 5 different floors, and a whole lot of logistics and human resources to support ….PHEW! Indeed, the task was a formidable one, to chisel out of the critical mass of so many ideas a concise and precise statement of purpose for the conference. Nevertheless, under the guidance of Dr. Bennnet Benjamin, we have drafted a statement that hopefully captures the most important ideas that have emerged out of this conference.

III. WHAT IS THE STATEMENT ABOUT:

We identified 4 main areas that formed the core of the discussions in the conference:

  1. The challenge faced by Christian Higher Education Institutions (CHEIs) in the context of the changing political scenario in the country.
  2. The challenge faced by CHEIs with regard to regional issues, including problems of resource mobilization.
  3. The need for CHEIs to provide spiritual nurture and inculcate human values in our youth in order to transform them into progressive and dynamic leaders of the nation.
  4. The task of strengthening and sustaining the good work of AIACHE in the cause of higher education and nation-building.

The deliberations that took place focused on the above mentioned 4 core areas and came out with the following recommendations:

  • Nation-building must go together with spiritual nurture to reiterate the ethos of Christian institutions.
  • Guiding and empowering the youth through the Human Values Development Programme/Value Education. By a systematic implementation of the HVDP programme, CHEIs can enable students to make informed decisions about choosing their careers as well as motivate them to contribute to the progress of the nation as enlightened citizens.
  • Vocation-fulfilment and Value-clarification are two important tasks that CHEIs must carry out in empowering the youth on its campuses. Vocational training must go hand in hand with skill development.
  • The need for CHEIs to teach the youth spiritual and ethical values by integrating it with the curriculum. CHEIs must amplify the voices of the multitude of students so that each institution becomes a prophecy by itself.
  • Training the faculty in CHEIs to become facilitators for effective delivery of knowledge, skills and attitude to the students. The sharing of best practices among the member institutions of AIACHE will not only improve the quality of individual institutions but also make a positive difference to the overall standards of higher education in India.
  • Mobilization of Resources for Christian Higher Education institutions. CHEIs should plan and implement the following four-stage plan for fund-raising:

Stage I. Identification of alumni and expanding the network
Stage II. Cultivation of alumni goodwill and support
Stage III. Solicitation: informing alumni about growth areas of the College.
Stage IV. Stewardship: developing a foolproof system of accountability and proper utilization of funds.

  • Strengthening the Minority Educational Profile in India by developing strong linkages with the National Commission on Minority Educational Institutions (NCMEI). Given the special status of CHEIs and their immense contribution to Indian higher education, it is imperative to evolve a proactive mechanism by which the Centre as well as State Governments through the minority commission is able to address and resolve the problems faced by the CHEIs.
  • CHEIs must prioritize new areas of knowledge formation and research development such as Environment studies, Peace studies, and Preservation of local knowledges and indigenous practices.
  • As AIACHE marches ahead towards a grand celebration of 50 glorious years in the service of education and the nation, there is a need to introspect on the present day issues and challenges, on how it has fulfilled its goals in the sphere of higher education keeping intact the spirit of Jesus Christ. AIACHE along with its member institutions has a greater responsibility now to redefine and reposition its role in nation-development in the context of the changed political scenario in the country.

RESOLUTIONS/RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE CONFERENCE

  1. Recommendation to the Government of India to increase the student intake capacity in HEIs so that the right to education may embrace a larger chunk of the youth population. The UGC and HRD Ministry must take a proactive stance in the conferment of autonomous and university status to Higher Educational Institutions with excellent credentials.
  2. CHEIs must recognize the need for fund-raising. Fund-raising is about advancing the institution quickly in the direction set by strategic planning. CHEIs should set up fund-raising committee to strategize and implement a practical plan of action for raising funds for development.
  3. Increase in the number of members institutions of AIACHE including (Medical & Professional colleges, Nursing, Social Work and Engineering colleges.)
  4. Develop a data base of AIACHE Institution staff members with the following details: subject specialization, areas of interest, in-house resource person for various programmes, etc.).
  5. Expand and improve upon the Inter-Institutional Faculty Exchange Programme (IIFP).
  6. Conduct Teacher Training workshops with the collaboration of member institutions. Such events will target newly-appointed teachers with less than 5 years of teaching experience. The training module will be designed and delivered by AIACHE experts and will provide participant teachers with new methodologies and innovative practices for classroom teaching and student mentoring.
  7. AIACHE must carry forward the Human Values Development Programme with expediency and efficiency. It should aim to reach out to all the 500 odd colleges that are affiliate members of AIACHE in the next 5 years.
  8. AIACHE must facilitate a more vigorous interface between its member institutions by developing a variety of contact and collaborative programmes on areas of academics, research and outreach activities.

In the end, we wish and pray to the Lord to bless AIACHE and all its friends with greater vision, strength and fortitude in its noble endeavour of pursuing excellence through the ministry of education and in contributing to the great task of nation-building.

Prepared by:

Dr Prantik Banerjee

Hislop College, Nagpur

Dr. D. Daniel Ezhilarasu Dr. Bennet Benjamin

Executive Director, CRHSE, Yelagiri