by Father Bernard Fernandes
MUMBAI, JULY 8, 2017: Principals - priests and lay people - from 20-odd Salesian schools of the province of Mumbai, had their first meeting at Don Bosco Provincial House, Matunga on July 7, to set their targets and build a vision for the academic year ahead.
The day's programme began with the celebration of the holy Eucharist presided by the Provincial, Father Godfrey D'Souza, who during his homily outlined Pope Francis' call to Catholic educators to teach the grammar of dialogue. The agenda for the day's meeting included inputs from Father D'Souza, Vice-Provincial, Father Savio Silveira and the Economer, Father Manuel Murzello.
The Provincial touched on the four aspects that make Don Bosco schools different from the other educational institutions. They are namely teaching of Gospel values, quality learning and teaching, being a safe and caring community, and maintaining the Catholic identity of a welcoming and inclusive school.
Putting the assembly in context of the Lines of Action of PC 2016 – the one relating to Framework of Minimum Quality Standards (FMQS) – Father Silveira shared his personal reflections on some points that ranged from the classroom to the environment and social consciousness, that could find their way into the FMQS. He said that the framework is not a set of good intentions, but a mandated framework that one needed to comply with to arrive at minimum quality standards. The Economer then provided administrative procedures and tips to the assembly of principals to ensure a smooth functioning of the institution.
Besides the business session that was taken up at the end of the day, a substantial part of the day's proceedings was set apart for the resource person Jeevan D'Cunha from Global Education Solutions to guide the members of the assembly into the preparation of a Framework of Minimum Quality Standards (FMQS), more specifically, Salesian Schools Quality Standards. Later, he also provided advice in 'dealing with difficult parents'.
D'Cunha spelt out model for FMQS with the core Salesian values as the base or centre and the six focus areas that ought to reflect these core beliefs. The six focus areas included teaching-learning, student welfare, staff welfare, infrastructure, partnerships and school governance.