In the course of the centuries, the Church has progressively used the ways and means to ensure the presence of a Christian thinking in the society of the day. The Church strongly believes that it is the Christian thought which constitutes a sound criterion of judgment in the midst of conflicting concepts and ideologies. Accordingly, the Second Vatican Council in its documents Lumen Gentium, Gaudium et Spes and Gravissimum Educationis reaffirmed the Church’s mission of education to ensure strong character formation. The Council believed that the Holy Spirit prompts the Church to mobilise her educational resources in the face of the materialism, pragmatism and technocracy of contemporary society.
St Anthony Mary Claret, the founder of the Claretian Congregation was a man characterized by sentire cum ecclesia,i.e., he always thought with the Church. Consequently, he not only thought and lived as a great missionary and social reformer, but also as a great educationist. In unison with the Church, he felt that the absence of the Catholic education would be a great loss for civilisation and for the natural and supernatural destiny of man. Therefore, apart from his gruelling pastoral and missionary undertakings, he also found the time and energy to found a science laboratory, a museum of natural history, a music school and a language school. He furthered every area of education with the aim of contributing to the development of a solid Christian culture. Carrying on the legacy of the founder, the Claretians are engaged in the ministry of education as salt of the earth and light of the world wherein sadly a pluralist mentality dominates and the Christian Gospel is increasingly pushed to the sidelines. Claretine education aims not at providing a quick fix answer to contemporary problems facing the mankind, but giving a direction towards solving them. Today, the Claretians are engaged in 66 countries across the globe managing over 200 educational institutions and running two universities.
On its part, the Claretian Province of Bangalore has been doing its mite in the promotion of wholesome Claretine education among tens of thousands of students who have passed through the portals of the Claretian educational institutions that are run and managed by the Province. The high importance given by the Province to the education ministry can be gauged by the fact that it has assumed the place of the second largest ministry in the Province. A quarter of the members of the Province is engaged in the education ministry comprising 22 institutions of different hues. Presently, there are over 16,300 students pursuing their education at different levels in the educational institutions run by Bangalore Province. One unique feature of our education ministry is that it is not confined just to the conventional spheres of education, but has kept expanding the horizons to go beyond the obvious.
Education is generally perceived as a traditional ministry, with not much scope for creativity and innovation. But, a look at the educational endeavours of the Province prove beyond doubt that education too can be a creative ministry, provided we are open to the signs of the times. In India’s post-independent economic history, 1991 was a watershed year when the Government abandoned the socialistic economic outlook in favour of sweeping economic reforms in the form of Liberalization, Privatization and Globalization (LPG). The aspirations of the average Indian were raised, and so were the standards of the job market. Quality education emerged as an indispensable requirement in order to fall in line with the industry’s requirement of quality workforce. Indian students were now required to meet international standards in order to compete with their global counterparts in the globalized world. The Province was quick to respond to this changed scenario and adapted its educational ministry to cater to the new India that was fast emerging. Prior to the LPG era, the Province’s education ministry was confined to just 2 educational institutions – St Claret English Medium School, Nallajerla (Estd. 1985) and St Claret English Medium School, Jalahalli (Estd. 1988) – which aimed at imparting English medium school education in the states of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka respectively. But, after the Government of India’s economic liberalisation policy in 1991, the province gave a vigorous thrust to the education ministry in order to make more and more children future ready. Though the province was already running the English medium school at Nallajerla in Andhra Pradesh, the need was felt to have a school in the capital of Andhra Pradesh, at par with St Claret School, Jalahalli. Thus, in the very year of the advent of economic liberalisation i.e., 1991 an English medium school was started in the form of St Claret School, Medchal. After a decade of consolidation, the Province began a spree of starting new schools: St Claret School, Narasannapetta (Estd. 2002), St Claret School, Nagpur (Estd. 2002), St Claret School, Barwadih (Estd. 2006), St Claret School, Kurnool (Estd. 2006), St Claret School, Basuregady (Estd. 2007) and Anthony Claret School, Jalahalli (Estd. 2007).
Being in the field of education for a long time, the Province realised that education imparted at the school needs to be complemented by the right environment for study. It was observed that the best of education imparted at the school will be of no avail, unless it is backed by conducive factors that promote learning outside the school hours. The Province identified the problem that the first-generation school-goers needed a boarding set up that can enhance the learning and assimilation skills of the students. Thus, with a view to providing a conducive environment for studies, the Province kept opening from time to time, several hostels to cater to the students studying in our own schools or in other schools – Christu Bhavan, Bhattiprolu (Estd. 1982), Clatret Nivas, Ledgain (Estd. 1996), St Theresa’s Hostel, Morwai (Estd. 1996), Vidya Niketan, Peddabayalu (Estd. 1998), Yesu Nilaya, Honalli (Estd. 2009) and St Peter’s Hostel, Barikhajuri (Estd. 2006). One hostel that needs special mention is the Mukti Tribal Residential School and Hostel, Tenali ( Estd. 2001). While all the other hostels cater to the students from varied backgrounds and social classes, Mukti is specifically meant for the children belonging to the Yanadi tribe – one of the most downtrodden tribal groups of Andhra Pradesh. Mukti is an attempt by the Claretians to empower the Yanadis by uniting them and developing them so as to be able to resist the forces that try to oppress them.
It is heartening to note that the contribution of the Province in the field of education is getting recognized by the dioceses where it is rendering its selfless service. A couple of dioceses have entrusted a few of their educational institutions to the care of the Claretians for better care and administration. For instance, the Diocese of Eluru has entrusted the RCM Elementary schools at Jaganathapuram (Estd 1945), Pullalapadu (Estd. 1960) and Dubacherla (Estd. 1963) to the care of the Province. Similarly, Daltonganj diocese has entrusted St Benedict School, Gothani (Estd. 1929) and St Peter’s School, Barikhajuri (Estd. 2007) to the care of the Province.
The Province has also been a pioneer in off-beat educational endeavours. One such endeavour is Snehajyothi Training Centre for the Physically Challenged in Belagavi. Founded in the year 2001, this centre provides formal education; musical training in vocal and instruments; basic computer course and Braille education to visually impaired and orphans. Another example is that of St Claret Kala Sangam that was founded in 2013 at Hubballi with the aim of training in fine arts and vocational training. The latest in the list of the off-beat educational endeavours is St Joseph’s Rural Community College at Bhusar. Founded in 2014, this Community College offers courses in nursing, driving, masonry and tailoring. Though the college is just two years into its existence, it has had a commendable placement record of those who have passed out of its portals.
After having been in the ministry of running schools for a long time, the next logical step for the Province was to move on to pre-university education. Accordingly, in the year 2002, St Claret Pre-University College was established in the Jalahalli campus in order to offer pre-university courses in the streams of Humanities, Science and Commerce. Owing to its consistently excellent results in the Pre-University Board Examinations, St Claret Pre-University College has emerged as one of the most sought after Pre-University colleges in North Bengaluru.
Three years after the establishment of the Pre-University College, the Province took the next big leap by establishing St Claret Degree College at Jalahalli in 2005. Affiliated to Bangalore University, the Degree College offers undergraduate courses in the streams of Commerce, Management, Computer Science and Liberal Arts. Within a short span of just a decade, the college has grown leaps and bounds. In 2011, Bangalore University named St Claret College as an Examination Centre for the Bangalore University exams, in recognition of its honest and professional management practices. In 2013, the University Grants Commission (UGC) recognized St Claret College under Section 2(F) of the UGC Act, 1956. In 2014, the College got accredited by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC). In 2015, the College was granted permanent affiliation by Bangalore University. In 2016, the UGC recognized the College under Section 12(B) of the UGC Act, 1956. Owing to its impressive track record, the College draws students from across the world to its portals. Last year, the College added a new feather to its cap when one of its students secured the First Rank in the BCA course at the 51st Convocation of the University.
With so many achievements and accomplishments to its credit, the educational ministry of the Province now looks forward to stepping into Postgraduate education. To begin with, the Province plans to launch M.Com and MBA courses from the academic year 2017-18 at its Jalahalli campus.
In today’s world, where education has become more and more commercialized in nature, the Claretian educational institutions stand distinct like a lotus in the pond, untouched by the contamination of commercialization even while enhancing the beauty of the lives of the students through wholesome Claretine education and selfless service. We see our ministry as one of nation building. We feel one with the great 14th century Catholic theologian Erasmus of Rotterdam who said that the main hope of a nation lies in the proper education of its citizens. May Mary the Seat of Wisdom continue to lead us and guide us as we minister in the field of education to bring about a positive change in the lives of our students, and through them, in the society.
Our Hierarchy of core values
Our Vision is to promote education excellence, leadership and service based on universal love and brotherhood in an environment characterized by respect for the individual and concern for the community; to strive to foster positive values based on the pursuit of truth into the lives of our students to effect holistic transformation within them.
Our Mission is to form intellectually competent, professionally skilled, spiritually evolved, morally upright, socially responsive and culturally tolerant citizens, through holistic Claretine education, for the creation of a civilization of love.
O my God and Father, May I know Your and make You known. May I love You and make You served. May I praise You and make all creatures praise You. My father, grant that all be united n grace, justice be over triumphed, Peace be always prevailed and all attain the fullness of lives in eternal glory, Amen.
With dreams in hearts and passion in our soul-wing
O Claretines move ever onward joyous
To form a culture of love and compassion
In the lives of all we love and serve and live with
You walk the labyrinth of time and space
Seeking the fruits of knowledge and skills
Schooling in the arithmetic of wisdom
You carry god’s love in your hearts.
O Claretines! You are a beacon
Formed at the portals of Alma Master St Claret’s
With skills of intellect ‘n’ competencies
With spirit bathed in morals and values
With social concern ‘n’ respect for cultures
Be a changing agent for the world around you
The universe awaits renewal through your talents
For you carry God’s love in your hearts.
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