by Cl. Lawrance Vincent, sdb
DIVYADAAN-NASHIK, SEPTEMBER 13, 2014: As 21st century India is witnessing advancement in all sectors, improvising new methods of education has become the need of the hour. Paying heed to this, Divyadaan, Institute of Philosophy, Nashik organized a Seminar on September 10 and 11, 2014. Commemorating the Bicentenary of the Birth of Don Bosco the educator, the Seminar was titled "Educating 21st Century India: Challenges and Strategies." The students of Philosophy, Practical Trainees of the province of Mumbai, members of the neighboring religious communities and the Principals and teachers of the nearby schools participated in the two day programme animated by Fr. Joe Arimpoor SDB, Director of Don Bosco ARC, Delhi.
After invoking the Holy Spirit, Fr. Felix Fernandes, the Principal, introduced the resource person. At the outset, Fr. Joe proposed Don Bosco's 'Education of the Heart' as a foundation for any effective educational system. In the first session, he focused on the importance of receiving 'Insight', which he creatively explained as the 'AHAaaaa!!!' experience. The speaker invited the participants to take note of their moments of 'Insight' and to plan strategies to implement them. He also elaborated on the need for strategies to be SMART- Tested (Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Realistic and Time bound).
He challenged the educators to initiate a change of mindset and to incorporate the pillars of the preventive system of Don Bosco, i.e., Reason, Love and God in their strategies. Speaking on the difference between a 'Learned teacher' and a 'Learning teacher', he emphasized the importance of continuous improvement with a reference to 'Banking System of Education' of Paulo Friere and the Multiple Intelligence theory of Howard Gardner.
On the second day, Fr. Joe dealt with the concept of 'Whole Person Paradigm' in education, highlighting the importance of Body (PQ), Mind (IQ), Heart (EQ) and Spirit (SQ) in Education. He also spoke about the DAAD (Do An Ark a Day) project. The term Ark refers to 'Act of Random Kindness.' In the last Session, he highlighted, that education is not complete without evangelization. He clarified the concept of evangelization as value building, which is the only possible way to evangelize in the context of a multi religious society like India. He held that the youth have the right to know and love God.
Every one of the participants felt privileged to be a part of the seminar. This was made explicit in the words of one of the Principals of a local school, "If I only knew that the seminar would be so good I would have brought the whole teaching staff along with me."