Christians condemn the closure of Mother Teresa Chair at IGNOU
Christians have strongly condemned the decision of the Government sponsored-the Indira Gandhi Open University (IGNOU), New Delhi to close down Mother Teresa Chair in Health, Education and Social Work which was started with much fanfare in the Christ Jubilee Year 2000 and has demanded to "not close down" the chair. The Mother Teresa Chair is actually being closed down for lack of funds.
Dr. John Dayal, General Secretary of All India Christian Council
"We condemn the reprehensible and in-comprehensive decision of the New Delhi based and Indian Government sponsored Indira Gandhi National Open University to discontinue the Mother Teresa Chair in Health, Education and Social Work which was started with much fanfare in the Christ Jubilee Year 2000," said Dr. John Dayal, the General Secretary of All India Christian Council.
The Chair was established in a Memorandum of understanding between the Catholic Bishops Conference of India (CBCI) and the University on February 29, 2000, in memory of Mother Teresa's great contribution to the downtrodden in the country. According to the University, the decision is based on the recommendations of the Board of Management (BoM) which approved the guidelines for establishment of chair. According to the new guidelines, each chair should have a sponsor and no chair should be established with University funds.
The revised MoU was signed on April 22, 2009 at St. John’s Medical College, Bangalore. Its objectives remain to address the needs of disadvantaged sections of the society through educational programmes, extension activities and research and to develop and launch socially-relevant courses and programmes of study such as social work, HIV/AIDS, family life education, substance abuse, and Philosophy. It offers various diplomas and degrees in these subjects.
Mohd Aslam, Vice-Chancellor of IGNOU
"We decided to continue with chairs that are sponsored by an outside agency and did not utilise the funds of the university," Mohd Aslam, vice-chancellor of IGNOU. He said the chairs that have been discontinued were not functioning for a long time for lack of funds. He added "I cannot be using the fee of my students to sustain a chair."
Mother Teresa, founder of the Missionaries of Charities order whose religious women and men run orphanages and relief shelters across the globe, is an icon of the age for her espousal of human compassion for the poorest of the poor, for children and for the terminally ill and dying. The blue-bordered sari that the 'Saint of the Gutters' wore, and which her mission Sisters wear, is a universally accepted symbol of these values.
The Mother Teresa church, a prestigious institution, is ostensibly being closed down for want of funds, together with ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization) chair, the CV Raman chair for science education, UNESCO chair in technology and e-governance and Vishveswarya chair for work in education linkages. All India Christian Council has asked the university not to close down the prestigious chair.
"We call upon the Board of Management of the Indira Gandhi National Open University not to close down the Mother Teresa Chair, but to add to its endowment to further the cause of social work and research," said Dr. Dayal.
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