Missionary-run institute committed to imparting human values as well as offering solid academic education
Brother Placid Rebeiro, principal of Holy Cross School and College in Rajshahi, welcomes new students with flowers on Jan. 18. (Photo supplied)
A missionary-run school and college in Rajshahi city launched more than 30 years after the establishment of the Catholic diocese is committed to imparting human values as well as offering a solid academic education to Bangladeshi students.
Holy Cross Brothers, well known for their education apostolate, officially started their new ministry in Rajshahi on Jan. 18 with the aim of providing an inclusive education, welcoming new students at Holy Cross School and College in Rajshahi Diocese.
The educational institution started its journey with 106 students as the first Catholic missionary-run school and college in Rajshahi metropolitan city. Initially, it is admitting students at nursery, kindergarten, first, third, fourth and sixth grades but it will be gradually upgraded to 12th grade.
“Our first consideration is to ensure that pupils can learn in an open and student-friendly environment so that they can learn values. We want students to be 100 percent free from private dependence and attend class 100 percent,” said Brother Placid Rebeiro, principal of the institute.
“Students can learn leadership through humanitarian, moral development and extracurricular activities. In a word, we want to ensure an environment in which a fully fledged human child grows up, and we are committed to that.”
Catholics do not have much presence in Rajshahi. Moreover, politicians and bishops wanted an educational institution in Rajshahi similar to Notre Dame College, Holy Cross or St. Joseph's College, which have a good reputation nationwide.
We have trust and confidence in the missionary educational institutions ensuring that our children will be given the right education as well as moral values
Although Rajshahi is famed for its education facilities, it has had no missionary educational institutions. The foundation stone of Holy Cross School and College was laid on Jan. 25, 2021.
Although Rajshahi Diocese was formed in 1990, over the past three decades bishops have invited missionaries to establish a local educational institution, but this was not possible due to various limitations. But now they have an educational institution with a capacity for 1,000 students of all religions.
“The bishop long ago invited us and other missionaries to establish an educational institution here, but we needed manpower which was not then available. Now that we have the capability, we want to continue our work here,” said Brother Rebeiro.
The Holy Cross Brothers run 25 schools and colleges with about 25,000 students nationwide. Rajshahi, one of eight divisional cities, is a major urban area in northern Bangladesh. The city is also known as an education hub with a number of state-run and private institutes that attract thousands of students each year.
“We have trust and confidence in the missionary educational institutions ensuring that our children will be given the right education as well as moral values as exemplified by some of the reputable missionary-run institutions in Dhaka,” said Rafiquel Islam, a businessman whose son is in the sixth grade.
“I’m very happy that this school is in our city and I welcome the Catholic missionaries.”
Holy Cross Brothers are one of three branches of the Holy Cross congregation comprised of priests, nuns and brothers. After arriving in Bangladesh in 1853, it has become the largest Catholic religious order in the country.
Each year Catholic institutes in Bangladesh offer education to over 100,000 students, mostly non-Christians, through one university, 17 secondary schools and colleges, 43 secondary schools and 278 primary-cum-junior high schools, according to the Catholic Directory of 2019.
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