‘Education must foster pluralism, cultural and religious diversity’

Rev Fr Dr James Thoppil Bishop of Kohima Diocese after unveiling the monolith during the Golden Jubilee celebration of St Paul School, Phesama on October 13.  (Morung Photo)

Rev Fr Dr James Thoppil Bishop of Kohima Diocese after unveiling the monolith during the Golden Jubilee celebration of St Paul School, Phesama on October 13. (Morung Photo)

St Paul School Phesama celebrates Golden jubilee

Morung Express news 
Kohima | October 13

Rev Dr James Thoppil, Bishop of Kohima Diocese graced the Golden Jubilee Celebration of St Paul School, Phesama in Kohima on October 13. 

Delivering a speech after inaugurating and blessing the Memorial stone of the jubilee, Rev Dr Thoppil opined that “education must serve as the gateway to the socio-cultural and economic development of persons and of the country, fostering pluralism, cultural and religious diversity, individual and collective freedoms and respect for and appreciation of differences, in the face of a global world that aggressively pushes towards economic and cultural uniformity.”

He expressed gratitude to the pioneers, especially the members of the Jesuit Society and collaborators, particularly FCC Sisters, who “despite oppositions and deprivation, toiled and labored without counting the cost for the development of the institutions and its pupils and for the progress of the people, even at the cost of threats and intimidation of various types from different quarters.” 

Making mention about the All India Catholic Education Policy-2007 which has given specific policy directions of Catholic Educational Institutions, the Bishop said accordingly, education, by its very nature is transformative, by changing human persons and through them, society and its structures. 

He said the Church’s intense and extensive apostolate of education continues Jesus’ mission of liberation and of imparting fullness of life. It emphasizes a holistic and fuller development that meets the challenges of modem culture and society and its demand for higher levels of competence. 

“Therefore, the Catholic educational institutions are basically service oriented. They are not profit oriented corporate houses, where profit is the priority. It gives preferential option for the poor and the marginalized. The Church through its educational institutions strives to build a new society built on justice, peace, love and harmony. We want all citizens to become literate, skilled and competent, socially conscious and spiritually motivated individuals,” the Bishop added. 

“Education must help the people to grow as men and women of character, competence, conscience, compassion and commitment, who will then contribute to the evolution of a counter-culture to the present ruthlessly competitive model, by promoting collaboration and cooperation for the growth of all, in a climate of mutual trust,” he said. The bishop asserted that in this sense the students of St Paul School, the past, the present and the future, “must become its own brand ambassadors and proponents of the values which they have been taught while passing through its portals.” 

“More than mere academic education, it is the integral and holistic education that attracted both parents and students to the school,” he said. 

He further said education must make people not merely to do the right thing but enjoy the right things; not merely to be industrious but to love industry; not merely to learn but to love knowledge; not merely to be pure but to love purity; not merely to be just but to hunger and thirst for justice. 

Rev Fr Dr Melvil Pereira SK Regional Superior, North East Jesuit Region and Chairman, Nagaland Jesuit Educational Society in his address said the vision of the school would not have been fulfilled without the pioneer, Late Fr Stany Coelho back in 1973. Back then, at the invitation of Late JB Jasokie, then Education Minister of Nagaland, the Jesuits first landed in Jakhama and started their first institution, Loyola School and realizing the powerful impact that education could have on the future of the village, Chavi Khale, then Catholic Leader of Phesama, approached Fr Coelho along with other leaders from Phesama and requested him to start a Catholic school at Phesama. 

Thanking the land owners and donors, Periera asked the crowd to re-imagine how a rugged hill has been transformed over the years, now a “beautiful edifice perched in the foothills of the Japfü range.”

He also added that St Paul was initially a simple bamboo structure, but later on shifted to a little building, which was a gift from Misereor, a German Catholic Agency.

Appreciating alumni for securing prominent positions in life and contributing to Naga Society, he hoped that values will be spread and practiced. 
Videlalie Zashümo, IPS, Deputy Inspector General of Police, said today although many private institutions are mushrooming especially in towns, catholic institutions run by Jesuits in rural areas in catering to the needs of students to provide them the equal opportunity to avail quality education at nominal fees. He therefore asked the students to make best use of what is being provided to them here. 

Zashümo said 50 years is long enough but it was just like yesterday while reminiscing his early education in the school adding classes then were taken in thatched house. 

“50 decades, big building structures have been brought up but quality education system had remained the same,” he opined. He also appreciated the school for providing scholastic excellence, moulding human behavior, and imbibing humanism and compassion for many people who studied here.  

The speech on behalf of the Alumni was delivered by Er Dzüvichüto Khale and Phesama, GB also spoke at the event. Earlier, presentations were given by students, alumni and churches youths.