The annual meet of the Province Coordinators for school Education (PCEs) was held at St. Xavier’s High school, Loyola Hall, Ahmedabad 0n 22-25 October ’23. All the coordinators, including the one from Sri Lanka, participated in the meeting. The meeting started with the Eucharist presided over by Fr. Antony Pitchai, the rector of St. Xavier’s College, Ahmedabad. He welcomed the delegates and urged the delegates to make our education more relevant.
At the formal inauguration in the school the students and the alumni welcomed the delegates with flowers and shawls. Fr. Francis Parmar, director, Gujarat Sahitya Prakash, presided over the inaugural ceremony as the provincial’s representative. In his inaugural address, he invited the delegates to look deeper into the meaning of discipline in Jesuit education. It is not just punishment but rather a formation for a change of behaviour and attitude. Fr. John Ravi, Conference Secretary for School Education (CSSE), interacted with the students asking, “Are you happy with the educational system in India?” The students expressed their dissatisfaction and that paved the way for our discussions and deliberations.
On the first day we had a session on ‘AI and its ethical implications’ by Dr. Jitendra Bhatia from Nirma University, Ahmedabad. Although AI offers various benefits to the humanity, it has its ethical implications resulting in biased information, lack of accountability and responsibility, fears related to data privacy and security, plagiarism and job replacement. He guided the delegates to audit and limit the power of AI when it is used. He also insisted that sources had to be shown to the students and the staff needed to be trained to responsibly use AI tools for education.
The second session was on ‘Online Data and Cyber Security’ by Dr. Akash Thakar from Rashtriya Raksha University, Gandhi Nagar. He shed light on various cyber crimes such as hacking, phishing, spoofing, cyber stalking, morphing, skimming, social engineering, data theft and so on. He made us become aware that any crime begins with our permission. He suggested ways to keep our date safe, such as creating strong passwords, two factor authentication, keeping software updated, using secured Wi-Fi networks and websites etc. He also educated the group about how to lodge a complaint on cybercrime.
The third session on the first day was on ‘Social Media in Learning’ by Dr. Richa Mishra from Nirma University. She explained how digital platforms could be effectively used in classroom situations and in guided sessions at home. Gamification in education makes learning easy and enjoyable. In the evening, the delegates visited Gandhi Ashram at Sabarmathi and enjoyed a sumptuous dinner offered by the community of St. Xavier’s School, Gandhinagar.
On the second day, Fr. Jose Alberto Mesa, SJ, the International Secretary for Secondary and Pre Secondary Education of the Society of Jesus, presided over the Eucharist and invited all the delegates to work in unison and get globally connected. In the first session of the day, he presented an overview of the educational scenario in the Society. He also spoke of the various documents of the society on Education. Then the province delegates presented the reports on the PAP, new educational initiatives and best practices in the schools. The delegates became aware of various possible ways of forming the students and the staff. In the evening the delegates relished the hospitality of St. Xavier’s College.
On the third day the Eucharist was presided over by Fr. James, SJ, the PCF of Gujarat Province. In his homily, he deliberated on the effectiveness and importance of Jesuit education in today’s context. Fr. Stanislaus D’ Souza SJ, the President of the Conference of South Asia, encouraged the delegates to impart the Jesuit ideals through the tool of education in his online address to the delegates. Fr. John Ravi SJ, the Conference Secretary for School Education, presented the annual report of CSSE.
In the afternoon, the delegates had an interactive session with the Educate Magis team and clarified their doubts in getting our schools globally connected. The annual meet ended with a grand dinner. The delegates thanked Fr Durai SJ, the provincial of Gujarat, Fr. Francis Macwan SJ, the local organizer, and all the members of the Loyola Hall community. They appreciated Fr. John Ravi, SJ, Secretary, CSSE, for the meticulous planning that made the annual meeting so effective.