Indian bishops' nationwide quiz 'an exhilarating experience'

Indian Catholic students tested on religious teachings as well as the nation's history and democratic values
Indian bishops' nationwide quiz 'an exhilarating experience'

Catholic schools senior quiz champions Anurag Singh Deo and Sourav Jyoti Saha receiving a trophy from Father Joseph Manipadam, secretary of the Indian bishops' office for education and culture, and quiz master Additya Nath Mubayi. (Photo supplied)

The Indian bishops' office for education and culture has for the first time conducted a nationwide quiz involving about 30,000 Catholic school students.

The event marked the 10th anniversary of the All India Catholic Education Policy.

The Catholic Bishops' Conference of India’s 'Education Mastermind' quiz culminated in the capital, New Delhi, on May 15 following a series of state and regional rounds that began in December.

Some 200 people — including priests, principals, teachers and parents — attended the final, which was presided over by Indian bishops' spokesperson Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas.

Making students better citizens was one of the objectives of the competition, he said.

Quiz master Nath Mubayi noted that subjects covered ranged from India's Constitution to the teachings of various religions.

Father Joseph Manipadam, secretary of the Indian bishops' office for education and culture, said the quiz promoted general knowledge as well as an understanding of social justice, media culture and political systems.

It also sought to get students to reflect on whether their schools are properly following the 'All India Catholic Education Policy' goal of bettering the nation and its citizens.

Father Manipadam said the policy stresses provision of a holistic, inclusive and empowering education that respects the rights of children and helps them experience Jesus’ love and compassion.

The Salesian priest said the Catholic Church runs 54,000 educational institutions catering to more 50 million million students.

Sejal Gupta from St. Joseph Academy, in Uttarakhand state of northern India, said the quiz was made more "enlightening" by the inclusion of subjects not contained in general knowledge books.

"I have participated in 15-20 quizzes, but this one stood out," he said, noting that students were able to lean more about Indian history through their participation.

Anurag Singh Deo and Sourav Jyoti Saha, winners of the senior category, said they have been taking part in quiz competitions since childhood.

"But this is the first time that we have reached the national finals," Saha said.

"It is an exhilarating experience.”

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Deo prepared for current affairs and sports while Shah prepared for questions about history, civics and the Bible.

"I am a Hindu, but we have some Biblical knowledge because of our school and I always wanted to know more," Shah said.

The winners of the junior and senior sections won a week's all paid trip along with their principals to Singapore, free education for up to two years, an education-based 'app' as well as a free tablet from technology company sponsors.

The runners-up got cash vouchers of 10,000 rupees (US$143) each, which could be redeemed against their school fees.

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