Aims and Objectives
Montfortian education has the person in society as its focus. It transforms individuals and societies to be spiritually inspired, respect the community of life, be fraternal in orientation, and just in all relationships, following the path of the Divine Wisdom. The goal of Montfortian education is to form persons for the same.
Dimensions of Montfortian Education
Montfortian education especially in primary and secondary schools, university colleges, vocational education centers, institutions for the differently abled and others, is often compared with those of a similar nature managed by other agencies. An authentic Montfortian educational initiative will stand out by the fact they operate from the framework of their Charism. This is framed by certain core dimensions derived from the Montfortian experience, beginning with the spiritual genius of Montfort' own vision, the audacity in mission of Gabriel Deshayes, the faith,resilience and enthusiasm of their pioneers, and the courageous new responses of today. The core dimensions of their Charism are:
A Spiritual Vision
"God Alone" was Montfort's ideal, his goal in life, and his key to the universe. A spiritual vision of life that helps the whole education community to seek the troth and live by it is the goal of Montfortian education. Keeping this goal in mind the Montfortian education provides opportunities:
- To develop a deep spiritual experience and orientation in life that help students to find God's Wisdom and to live by its demands.
- To become rooted in their faith-culture through a personal encounter with God that helps them celebrate differences and love one another.
- To develop a critical consciousness and personal convictions on matters of one's religion, and at the same time to respect and to be enriched by the faith convictions of others.
- To foster the Christian life of the Catholic community through spiritual and apostolic activities, without however isolating them from those of other faiths.
- To cultivate a genuinely Catholic institutional culture that is universal, based on values such as an atmosphere of trust, just and authentic relationships, service to all, inclusiveness, participation and a spirit of forgiveness.
- To imbibe Montfortian ethos and values by all the stakeholders in Montfortian education through appropriate programmes and structures.
Writing to his disciples, Montfort made it clear: "In your life it is your aim to assist the poor, the outcasts, the despairing and the lame. All those by the world rejected, on your love have greater claim. " In the poor and the marginalized, Montfort saw the face of God; they determined his life-style; gave focus to his options in ministry; and formed his clientele. While he understood that the liberating and humanizing mission of Christ is meant for all, Montfort followed his master and chose those pushed to the fringes by an unjust and uncaring society, as his first choice in mission. Inclusion, non-discrimination, respect and participation of all were his core values in mission. Montfortian education follows the same options. It:
- Promotes inclusive education through a clear admission policy that spells out percentages of admission to students who come from physically, socially and economically disadvantaged sections of society such as the differently abled, HIV / AIDS affected, indigenous peoples, social outcasts, women, minorities, immigrants and the poor.
- Adheres to a Common School System that is inclusive of all sections of society without discrimination, with the poor and the vulnerable being the first preference.
- Adheres to the principle that no child will be denied a Montfortian education solely for economic reasons.
- Promotes the education of the differently abled in the Gabriel Deshayes tradition, through exclusive as well as integrated institutions.
- Provides technical education to improve skills and knowledge that will increase opportunities for the young.
- Organizes well planned exposure programmes for students and other members of the education community to situations of poverty, injustice and violations of rights, along with critical reflection and internalization of the experience.
- Develops in students deep convictions about the Montfortian core values, and the contributions they should make for the transformation of society.
- Uses the curriculum and other appropriate means to promote human rights education.
- Cultivates an internal attitude of respect for women ,children, and for the protection of their rights.
- Helps the education community to confront their own prejudices and stereotypes about certain communities and peoples, so that they are able to look at people and situations with objectivity and genuine concern.
- Cultivates attitudes of co-operation, collaboration and concern for all in the educational processes, thus promoting the reign of God.
Not content with loving the poor, serving them and sharing his table with them in faith, Montfort became one among the poor themselves (Hymn 18). The history of Montfortian education is replete with instances of such an incarnational methodology characterized by total self-giving, involvement, genuine empathy, sharing in the situations of people and participatory processes. These cherished values as an educational methodology go a long way in bringing about personal and social transformation. This is accomplished through:
- A culture of personal and warm relationships with all.
- Involvement of teachers and administrators as mentors and guides in the lives of students; taking personal interest in the intellectual, affective, moral and spiritual development of everyone; and helping each one to develop a sense of self-worth and responsibility.
- Involvement in the pains and struggles of the most vulnerable sections of the neighborhood in which the institution/work is located through appropriate and well designedprogrammes.
- Simplicity and transparency III all aspects of the educational process.
Innovation and Creativity
The powerful reprimand of Montfort, "if you do not take risks for God, you will do nothing great for him," had its impact on the options and commitments of his followers all through history. If idealism and creative zeal were the hallmarks of Montfort, audacious and innovative re- foundation, organization and expansion marked Gabriel Deshayes. Following this lead, Montfortian education seeks new frontiers, breaks new ground in perceptions, walks along unfamiliar paths, and forms citizens of a new world in the making. It aims at the holistic and integral development of every person to become men and women of character, competence, conscience, and compassion. Towards this end:
- Students are given a thorough and sound intellectual formation that includes development of the ability to reason reflectively, think logically, and evaluate critically through competent and well motivated teaching.
- Possibilities are offered to students to develop their imaginative, affective and creative dimensions of life through planned right brain activities and programmes as part of normal curriculum.
- Opportunities for collective learning, listening and cooperation is provided to students through projects and other programmes.
- Programmes and methodology that arouse intellectual curiosity in students, and cultivate an aptitude for self learning and personal research are offered in order to help them cope with the ever new demands of life.
- Develop in students an informed yet critical outlook towards mass media, social networks and other means of communication and interaction that are the fruits of technology, so that they are able to make discerned personal choices rather than be manipulated by them.
- Develop a culture of life and wellbeing in the educational milieu and programmes, so that students are enabled to handle situations of stress and personal crisis with patience and maturity.
- Montfortian educational institutions are empowered to experiment in curriculum planning, pedagogical methods and institutional culture that are in coherence with the core Montfortian values with a view to creating models of education for a new world in the making.
The Best Interests of the Child
In all actions concerning children, Montfort placed the best interests of the person as the primary consideration. The meticulous plans he made for the organization of the schools and the classrooms, his pedagogical method, his concern about the security and wellbeing of children, and their all round development is an indication of this important consideration (Original Rule of the Daughters o/Wisdom No. 281 ff). In spite of the limitations in the ethos of the times, his biographers tell us that the Montfortian schools were places where "the children find themselves in an exciting atmosphere, almost like that of a game or play." Montfortian education today places the child at the centre of its education mission. To realize this
- Basic needs of children, including sufficient nutrition. physical and psychological wellbeing, and a secure atmosphere, are assured both within the school as well as outside;
- Appropriate participation of children in all decisions that affect them are ensured both as their inherent right as persons, and as responsible decision makers in their adult life;
- Teaching/Learning process is made participatory, drawing out the hidden potentialities in every child;
- All discrimination based on gender, religion, caste and class are avoided whether it be in admissions, or teaching/learning processes
- Positive discrimination in admissions and other educational processes are rendered towards those deprived and the marginalized in society such as girl children, social outcasts and others;
- The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child is made a practical guideline in curriculum planning, pedagogy, administration and institutional culture.
Partnership and Networking
Partnership and networking was a way of life for our founders and our pioneers. Montfort's own life was an example of numerous such partnerships in mission. The world today flourishes on partnerships and team work. As the so" General Chapter comments, "Today, the world is marked by networks of solidarity, and the Church by the spirituality of communion. We are invited to live more and more in partnership with others and this is to be extended to all people of good will" (No. 37). Partnership as an evangelical value and as a strategic tool can be realized in Montfortian Education by
- Introducing the larger education community to the life and vision of Montfort and Montfortian Education;
- Empowering students, teachers, parents and other partners in education to consciously share in the Montfortian Mission;
- Training students in soft skills that make them humane, understanding and compassionate towards one another and to the rest of the world;
- Facilitating team building and cooperation among students and teachers both through curricular and co- curricular activities;
- Sharing of resources, programmes and space with educational institutions in the neighborhood, thus assuming a facilitation role for education in the area;
- Networking with governmental and non-governmental actors in the field of education for mutual enrichment and to provide support for those deprived of opportunities
- Empowering the Montfortian Associates to participate in Montfortian education at all levels, including in planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation:
- Opening to international collaboration and networking
Respect for Community of Life
Montfortian Education recognizes that all beings are interdependent and every form of life has value, whether acknowledged or not by human beings. Hence the whole of creation has to be treated with respect and care. Towards this end, Montfortian Education will:
- Inculcate in students respect and care for the community of life through curricular and co-curricular activities;
- Reduce, reuse and recycle materials used In consumption systems Make careful and efficient use' of energy
- Adopt lifestyles that enhances quality of life and limit material needs;
- Develop an institutional culture that embodies respect and care for the community of life;
- Adopt the values and principles embedded in the Earth Charter as a guide in our commitment to respectful and sustainable use of the resources of the world.
Quest for Excellence
Excellence is a hallmark of Montfortian Education. However, as Montfort instructed us, it does not come from "an exact conformity to the maxims and fashions of the world' (LEW No. 75), nor from a state of the art infrastructure, or high ranks and medals. Rather, excellence is measured by striving for and possessing true Wisdom. The effects of such Wisdom according to Montfort are the ability to 'judge all things with keen discernment and deep penetration, energy, vigor and passion for all that is good, the ability to communicate the experience of true Wisdom to others with conviction, and the virtues of a lovely faith, firm hope, ardent charity, well ordered complete prudence, perfect justice and invincible f. LEW Nos. 91-99) . An education that promotes such quest for excellence will be marked by
- An education atmosphere that helps every student, each according to his/her aptitudes, to develop a high level of social. human, spiritual, emotional, physical and academic competencies;
- Ahigh level of a culture of cooperation and collaboration among students, teachers, and others involved in the educational process;
- The ability of students to make choices in life that are fruits of mature discernment following the demands of the Eternal Wisdom, and are willing to pay the price for such choices;
- The presence in the institution of a high percentage of students from among "those whom the world rejects", who are provided the necessary support structures to attain the same excellence as the others.
- An inclusive institution where people of all faiths, cultures and social groups can grow together and build meaningful and lasting relationships;
- Openness to modem technological and pedagogical advancements to maximize the learning/teaching process
- A high level of environmental consciousness, respect for the community of life, and the needs of the future generations;
- Respect for the human rights of all, especially the most vulnerable sections of society
- A reasonable percentage of the alumni who reflect the qualities of the Wisdom that is the goal of the Montfortian Education, and contribute to creating a just, fraternal and sustainable world in different sectors.