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Indian bishops push for pluralism in new education policy

Church officials criticize government proposals saying they favor Hindu ideology

Indian bishops push for pluralism in new education policy

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Published: August 24, 2016 08:32 AM GMT

The Catholic Bishops' Conference of India has issued its response to a draft education policy, saying the government was attempting to ignore Christian contributions and push forward a Hindu ideology.

Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas, CBCI secretary-general, made public an 11-page response to the policy at a press conference on Aug. 19 in New Delhi.

"We will not compromise on three things — pluralism, constitutional rights of minorities and rights of dalits and tribal [people]," the bishop said.

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Church officials had submitted the document detailing their response to the new education policy July 30. The response came after the government's published a draft National Education Policy on its website last month seeking public input before finalizing it.

India's bishops criticized the proposed draft on many fronts, including the government's attempt to introduce vedic mathematics, yoga and its emphasis on ancient Hindu heritage.

They alleged the draft was compiled without input from the main stakeholders who are the students, parents and Christian missionaries who have been the pioneers of education in India with over 25,000 Christian educational institutions.

Bishop Mascrenhas said "education is not imposed on anyone from part of one culture. We have Indian cultures and sub-cultures. The government has to see that none of them is deprived and all are given space."

Criticizing the government on laying emphasis on ancient Hindu heritage in the draft, Bishop Mascarenhas said, "India is a secular country. It is not the business of schools to teach anybody anybody's religion."

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