Dispelling the darkness of ignorance, illiteracy and superstitious beliefs and practices through imparting true knowledge is the most important liberating mission of the Catholic Church in Garo Hills. To this effect, the church has made huge investments in terms of money and personnel. In order to coordinate the educational activities in the church run schools, the Diocese of Tura established “The Tura Diocesan Catholic Schools Education Board”(CSEBTD) in the diocese in 1998. All the Catholic schools are members of this Education Board.
We are happy to bring out this magazine which contains the report of a survey conducted by the CSEBTD in Catholic Schools in 2015 to find out the status of the diocesan educational service. It is also our first step to showcase the educational ministry of the Diocese of Tura as a collective activity.The Diocese of Tura was established in 1973 covering 8167 sq. km geographical area of the state of Meghalaya. There was nothing worth mentioning regarding growth, development and educational level of those days. However, the early missionaries did their best to educate the people by opening many village schools. Ever since the Diocese of Tura was created, several missions were opened and schools were established. Bishop George Mamalassery, the first Bishop of Tura took keen interest in establishing schools throughout Garo Hills. With the help of generous donors from abroad, Bishop George managed to build many schools. Initially the Church built up primary schools as it was the need of the time. Gradually all these lower primary schools were upgraded to middle schools. The establishment of Tura Don Bosco College in 1987 was a landmark achievement of the Catholic Church towards educational service in Garo Hills. As the status of education improved, the middle schools were further upgraded to High Schools. The establishment of Montfort Centre for special education and training, Don Bosco College of Teacher Education, Loyola College at Dawagre, Williamnagar were significant milestones in the service of special education and Higher education. Today Garo Hills has a total population of 11,03,115 and a total number of 3,31,732 students in all its schools of which more than 50,000(15%) students are enrolled in the church run schools. It is also important to note that our schools are educating more girls than boys (22722 boys - 45.5% and 27287 girls – 54.5%). In the last couple of years, the church has gone one more step ahead in education by opening a number of Higher Secondary Schools. More than 2000 students are getting educated in our higher secondary schools excluding the students in Don Bosco and Loyola Colleges.
Through formal education in schools the students are not only taken to the world outside their region but also taught the deeper meaning of life, to interact with others and to love and care for the Earth they live in. They are taught to be responsible citizens with character and conviction. The church is also providing Informal education to a large number of rural people through the Missionaries and local people who tour the length and breadth of Garo Hills mostly on foot. The diocese also built up hostels attached to the mission centers to accommodate and educate as many children as possible from interior villages.
Undoubtedly the Diocese of Tura has made a significant contribution in the field of education with its limited resources and personnel and continues to work tirelessly towards creating a more just, equitable and enlightened society in Garo Hills. We proudly place on record the mammoth contribution of the Church and thank all the stake holders particularly the foreign agencies, the central and state governments, education departments, other churches, politicians and the people of Garo Hills in general for the support and co-operation extended in providing quality education to a large number of people in Garo Hills. The pages of this magazine will unravel the role of the church in education and what more to be done in our area. The Church has to focus more on higher education and skill development in the coming years to fill the gap of state and central governments in educating the people and for fulfilling this vision we need to make more investment in infrastructure development. More higher secondary schools and technical schools have to come up in the future. As external support for building schools and colleges is dwindling, we need to take the place of those foreign donors who made genuine sacrifices to support the cause of education in Garo Hills. So we appeal to everyone and particularly to all the beneficiaries of Catholic education to come forward with generous support to provide a brighter future for the unprivileged children in Garo Hills who are far from the reach of quality education.
We sincerely thank Bishop George Mamalassery, Bishop Andrew R. Mk, all the Priests and Religious and all the teachers for the marvelous work done to improve education in Garo Hills. CSEB is grateful to everyone who has contributed towards the successful publication of this magazine. Our special thanks to Rev. Fr. Shinoj Mcbs for layout and design.
Tura Diocesan Catholic Schools Education Board.