HISTORY

The Outline History of AINACS

The ALL INDIA ASSOCIATION OF CATHOLIC SCHOOLS, earlier known as the "Xavier Association of Catholic Schools" was established in 1953 under the auspices of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India. A need was felt to knit the Catholic Schools together into an association that would awaken in them an awareness of the various changes that were taking place in the field of education, so that they could present a common front to the problems that were arising. At that time a number of legislative and departmental measures were being introduced which were likely to encroach on educational freedom and the management of Catholic Schools. These had to be countered in a suitable manner to preserve the special identity of Catholic Schools, which had to speak independently for themselves and not through the All India Federation of Educational Associations which was already in existence. The Xavier Association of Catholic Schools functions under the aegis of the Education Commission, one of the commissions of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India, which is its policy making body. The late Archbishop Raymond was the Chairman of the Education Commission when the Xavier Association of Catholic Schools was formed with Father C. Saldhana, SJ, as the first President of its Council. In its early years, institutional membership of the Association was restricted to High Schools only which were grouped into fifteen Regional Units, spread out throughout the country. Regional Units did not however exist in West Bengal, Assam and Andhra Pradesh.

The Council deals with matters at the National level and provides the necessary cohesion to hold the Regional Units together. Each Regional Unit has its own Chairman who is responsible to the Council for looking after its affairs and taking up matters of local interest with the respective State Governments. The Association was not established with Central and Regional offices with their respective staff, and the President and Chairmen functioned on an adhoc basis using the resources of schools according to their convenience. Usually the Secretaries of the Association were principals of schools, who undertook this work in addition to their other responsibilities. This arrangement was a very fluid and loose one and did not lend strength and authority to the Association. The Council met once a year to review the activities of the Regional Units during the past year, take stock of its own activities, and launch new programmes for the future. Each Regional Unit was authorised to send three of their members to the council meeting, one of whom had to be a woman. Right from its inception the constitution of the Association ensured female participation.

Consequent to the publication of the Mudaliar report on education in 1953 with its emphasis on multi-purpose education and the intrinsic importance of Higher Secondary Education and implementation of its various recommendations, a number of difficulties were being experienced by the schools in obtaining suitable text-books and specialist teachers. Such problems were considered by the Association in its early deliberations, as well as miscellaneous ones dealing with the salaries and service conditions of teachers, and the relationship of the Association with other Educational Associations such as the All India Education Conference. In those years it was strongly felt that there should be increased attendance and more active participation in the work of National Conferences. However most principals throughout the country knew very little about the pioneering work of this Association and abstained from joining it as they thought that it was an exclusively Jesuit one.

As the work of the Association progressed it had to concern itself with the problems arising from the necessity of teaching in national and regional languages in accordance with the directives of the Government, as well as the various changes proposed by the Kothari Commission in 1966 in its recasting of the pattern of secondary education and its emphasis on ensuring a uniform pattern education throughout the country. The Association helped the Catholic Schools to meet the momentous changes that were taking place in the educational field by training more teachers, looking into the requirement of text-books and encouraging the use of Hindi and the absorption of Indian culture. They drew up a draft constitution for the Catholic Teachers' Guild and resisted the encroachment of Government representatives on the managing committees of private schools. .

The Association has had some very laudable aims such as the introduction of social service in schools, the setting up of Ieader-ship camps to train the youth in character building, fostering inter-school competitions, the introduction of educational tours, and offering vocational guidance to students before they left school; but there was no follow up of such proposals due to the inherent weakness of its organisational structure.

An aspect of the work of the Association that deserves special mention relates to the preparation of a Register of Teachers and their qualifications to enable them to be employed gainfully.Unfortunately this very worthwhile aim was never achieved due to the inability of the organisation to translate its ideas into practice.

At a very early period in its history the Association made repeated reference to the non availability of suitable books on moral instruction for teachers and pupils, and the necessity of improving the teaching of the catechism in catholic schools in keeping with their special character. This situation arose from the secular nature of our constitution. As a result of its insistence on the much needed requirement to rectify this lacuna in moral instruction the Association was instrumental in publishing the MacMillan's Moral Science series prepared by the De Nobili College, under the auspices of the Catholic Teachers' Guild of Bombay. It is of significance that the Kothari Commission which met much later in 1964-66 emphasised the need of introducing education in moral, social and spiritual values as an integral part of school programmes, thus vindicating the stand of the Association. The further development of this subject will be taken up later while tracing the growth of the Association.

In 1962 the Association took very strong exception to the attempts of some of the State Government to nationalise text-books and fought against the introduction of text-books which contained erroneous and misleading information. In answer to this attempt at regimentation it urged the CBCI to take up the preparation and publication of suitable school books and sought or obtained representation in various text-books committees so that the problem could be tackled at its source.

There are two other landmarks in the activities of the Association that occurred prior to its reorganization as AINACS of which note should be taken. The first concerns the publication of a Directory of Christian Secondary Schools, which was proposed in 1962 but only completed in 1971, after the Council had established an office of its own with a permanent secretary. This again reflects on the weakness of the organisation and its inability to give effect to its proposals due to the lack of a permanent staff. The second relates to the publication in 1967 of a Newsletter which was distributed to schools to facilitate communication between the Central Council, Regional Units and subscribing members. It has been possible for all members to keep more closely in touch with one another and with the Centre by transmitting items of interest to one another through the Newsletter. This has had a strong cementing effect in the Association.

It was only in 1970 that the Council established an office of its own with a permanent assistant secretary. This was at Poona. It was from here that work was initiated to draft a proper constitution and draw up a memorandum for the Association along with its Rules and Regulations. This was filed with the Registrar of Institutions and gave the Association a legal standing and a right to speak to the Government on behalf of its members. The certificate of registration of the Association was finally received on January 30, 1971.

In 1971 the Xavier Association of Catholic Schools changed its name to the All India Association of Catholic Schools which is the title by which it is presently known. As a result of this change of name which was effected through prior consultation with the CBCI, there was a sudden spurt in its membership which jumped to 429 and further to 576 in 1973. With the change in the constitution of the Association the subscription rates were enhanced and the membership steadily increased as shown below:

Year

No. of Schools

No. of

Subscribers

Subscription Rate

1970

1237

 

159

Rs. 2/-

 

1971

1244

 

429

Rs. 10/-

or Rs. 25/-

1972

1258

 

475

- do-

 

1973

1461

 

576

- do-

 

1974

1464

 

565

- do-

 

1975

1486

 

429

- do-

 

1976

1508

 

618

- do-

 

1977

1503

 

490

- do-

 

Membership is also open to educational organisations and religious orders for which an annual fee of Rs. 30/- is charged. To date 23 such organisations have been registered by the Association.

AINACS is a weak organisation from the point of view of its finance. Although it represents 1486 catholic schools and institutions, it received subscription from only 490 members during 1977. Its income is inadequate to support its office establishment and fund its activities which include the organising and holding of seminars on education at the National and Regional level in various parts of the country, and publishing of newsletters. Although it earned a revenue of Rs. 29,052 in 1971 from the sale of its Directory of Secondary Schools, it has had to depend largely on donations to pay for its office equipment and conduct its seminars. These have come from the CBCI and from various external agencies and totalled Rs. 76,549.39 p. during the last 25 years. The foreign donations were received from the Pontifical Society for the Propagation of the Faith and the Swiss Catholic Lenten Fund. The former contributed Rs. 22,142.00 p. in three installments. The first two installments totaling Rs. 13,942.00 p. were used for purchasing equipment and furniture for the office of the Association and the third instalment of Rs. 8,200.00 p. was contributed to the Association for its Silver Jubilee celebrations. The Swiss Catholic Lenten Fund donated Rs. 26,643.33 p. to enable the Association to conduct seminars and workshops on moral education. As a result of these seminars AINACS was able to initiate a project to publish a set of teacher's books on moral education, compiled from material collected from these seminars. More will be said about this later. It is hoped that the sale proceeds from these books will generate sufficient funds to place the Association on a healthier financial footing and enable it to become totally independent of donations.

Included in the diverse activities of the Association was an international art competition sponsored by the Holy See, during 1972. This competition was open to four different age groups in the member institutions on topics illustrating Gospel scenes. Monetary prizes were awarded at the State and National level to successful artists. The winners had their work exhibited at the Vatican and some of those who won international prizes had their work reproduced as postage stamps.
After its reconstitution as AINACS, the Association has taken a very active interest in educational activities and has organised twelve seminars at the national level on various educations topics.
The Central office of the Association moved to Eaglemount, Simla, in June 1972 where it was located for one year. Simla was not found to be a suitable place, due to difficulties in communication. The office moved again in May 1973, this time to the CBCI Building in New Delhi, at the request of the CBCI and it is now permanently based there.

In 1973 AINACS amended its constitution to embrace all primary schools in addition to middle schools, high schools, higher secondary schools, technical schools and training colleges. The main objective of the Association is to promote education according to the ideals of the Christian community and in the interest of National development. It also co-ordinates the work of members at the National, State and local level in order to foster a common policy of education. It represents the interests of members before governments, universities, educational departments and other authorities concerned. Membership to the society is open to all educational institutions, associations and organisations under Catholic management. It is managed by a council composed of members of the Education Commission of the CBCI, representatives of Institutions, Associations and Organisations and such other members as the President may decide to admit to membership not exceeding five. Annual General meetings are held by the Council and Special Meetings are conducted by the Council if either the President, or any individual member of the Council who has obtained the assent of 40 council members so require. In between General and Council meetings the affairs of the Society are managed by an Executive Committee of seven headed by the President of the Council. The Executive Committee meets at least once a year just before the Annual General Meeting.

In 1973 AINACS decided to break off relations with AIFEA because it played a very subsidiary role in the functioning of the Federation and AIFEA was not interested in the dissemination of Moral Education. AINACS does however maintain a connection with OIEC (The Catholic International Education Office, Brussels), and sends its representative to take part in its annual meetings as a constituent member who participates in general assembly meetings with a right to vote.

To return to 1971 it is of interest to note that the Heads of the Christian Schools met at Nagpur to frame a constitution for the All India Association of Christian Schools on the basis of the AINACS constitution. Two years later the members of ACSI and AINACS met for the first time in October 1973 to study the role of Christian schools in India and selected a joint committee to find out how a Federation of the two Associations could be formed. This was followed by another joint meeting at Tiruchirapalli in November 1974 to give effect to their proposals without losing their separate identities. In spite of a third meeting at Nagpur in 1975 the Executive of the two Associations could not make any headway in forming a federation. They again appointed a committee to study the problem in depth and the findings of this committee were presented at the Third Joint Session of ACSI and AINACS at Srinagar in May 1975. At this meeting in which only 25 AINACS members participated it was resolved to form a new association to be known as the All India Association of Christian Schools by merging the Executive Committees of the two Associations, and framing a constitution for the new Association. This resolution was taken in spite of an earlier decision of the executive of AINACS, that they could only agree to the formation of a federation and not to a merger. When the Secretary of AINACS pointed out that this lapse could not be accepted unless it was ratified by the AINACS Council and Executive, as well as the CBCI, the proposal for merger was referred to those bodies. The Chairman of the Education Commission in turn referred the matter to the Standing Committee of the CBCI which decided not to lend its support to the newly formed ecumenical set up. Finally the proposal for the federation was kept in abeyance. Instead a joint conference was held in Hyderabad between ACSI an AINACS in May 1977, the theme of which was "Our Responsibility to Education as Christian Schools".

AINACS has consolidated itself during the last few years an has displayed keen interest in getting Moral Instruction on to a firm and sound footing. It has organised a number of regional seminar on Moral Instruction and two on teaching throughout the country.

Experience shows that only a few benefit from the training imparted by AINACS. To overcome this weakness the Association has been taking in service training to the very doorstep of schools for many years. This is evident from the preceding itinerary and programmes of regional and national seminars. AINACS has so far reached out to 98 institutions and 911 teachers in Regional Seminars and 495 institutions and 654 participants in National Seminars. These contacts are very necessary to expose teachers to new ideas and new methods and to enable them to reflect on their own approach to Moral Education. In keeping with the growing realisation of the importance of moral education the Association plans to conduct seminars and workshops in other parts of the country as well.

In 1976, the Association organized two seminars at Baroda in collaboration with the Centre Advanced Study of Education, M.S University of Baroda for the training of resource personnel. Thirteen resource personnel who were exposed to Modern Instructional Methods during these seminars have been and will be used to organize and conduct educational seminars in their own regions as well as in other parts of the country. Six more resource personnel were trained at Baroda in February 1978.
The Association has also taken up the publication and printing of a set of three sequential books and a supplementary guide for teachers in Value Education. The books contain the result of seminars organized and conducted by AINACS at the National and Regional Level and are the outcome of intensive study and research. The books that have been under preparation for the past two years cover a range of forty values which have been classified under three groups referred to a Personal Values, Neighbourly Values and Community Values.
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