The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) is the apex body of the 17 million Catholics in India.
The Catholic Church has about 20,000 educational institutions under its management: Schools (15,000), Colleges (300), nursing schools (125), hospitals and health clinics (5,000), rehabilitation centres (2,000), technical schools (1,500), medical colleges (6), two Universities, apart from engineering colleges and other social and welfare institutions.
About 180 Bishops, 100,000 nuns and 25,000 priests render their dedicated services in the field. The Church in India continues to support educational initiatives, especially in areas pertaining to social issues across the country. About 85 percent of all its health care interventions are in rural India.
The Chair, established on February 29, 2000, after signing of an MoU between the CBCI and IGNOU, facilitates the initiatives of IGNOU for launching several socially relevant programmes of study. The revised MoU was signed on April 22, 2009 at St. John’s Medical College, Bangalore. The Chair was established with the following objectives:
- To address the needs of disadvantaged sections of the society through educational programmes, extension activities and research;
- To develop and launch socially-relevant courses and programmes of study such as social work, HIV/AIDS, family life education, substance abuse, philosophy, etc.;
- To organise seminars and conferences on important socially-relevant themes;
- To organise an annual Mother Teresa Memorial Lecture;
- To undertake other activities to address the concerns of the disadvantaged sections of the society.
Since the signing of the MoU in 2000, IGNOU launched several courses and formal programmes of study on social work, HIV/AIDS, Philosophy and related topics which were/are being developed by the Chair.
1. Certificate in HIV/AIDS and Family Education (CAFÉ)
The first-ever University Certificate Programme on HIV/AIDS and Family Education in India was launched by IGNOU in 2002. This six-month Certificate Programme comprise of four courses of four credits each, offered in two languages: English and Hindi. The entry qualification is 10+2. Over 1000 students take admission each year in this programme. This programme is also on offer in Nepal, Namibia and Kenya, apart from some of the State Open Universities in the country.
National Seminar on Social work response to HIV/AIDS: Kuttikannam
2. Diploma in HIV and Family Education (DAFE)
IGNOU launched the one-year Diploma Programme in HIV/AIDS and Family Education in 2003.
The target learners comprise school and college teachers, doctors, nurses, NGO functionaries, parents of adolescents and those interested in the subject. The programme package consist of meticulously prepared print materials (lessons) supplemented by audio and video programmes, both in English and Hindi. The entry qualification is 10+2. Over 1,000 students take admission each year in this programme. This programme is also on offer in Nepal, Namibia and Kenya, apart from some of the State Open Universities. From 2008, the University offers the revised and updated version.
National Seminar on Social work response to HIV/AIDS: Kuttikannam
3. Bachelor's in Social Work (BSW)
IGNOU launched the Bachelor Degree Programme in Social Work (BSW) in 2004. This is a unique programme in the country from various perspectives: IGNOU made history in India in the discipline of social work education by launching BSW through distance learning mode. This is the first and only BSW programme in India offered through the open learning system which has compulsory courses on HIV/AIDS, family life education, substance abuse, communication and counselling. This programme consists of 96 credits which is offered both in English and Hindi. Over 3000 students from across the country enroll for this programme every year. Each student is placed under the guidance of a professionally-qualified social worker for social work practicum. Apart from preparing undergraduates in social work, this initiative has enabled hundreds of professional social workers to learn and teach subjects such as HIV/AIDS, family life education, sexual health education, substance abuse, etc.
The entry qualification for BSW is 10+2. The minimum duration of the programme is three years and the maximum period for its completion is six years.
IGNOU felicitates the first rank holder with the presentation of a Gold Medal and the Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Meritorious Cash award of Rs.10, 000/- during its annual convocation.
National Seminar on Social work response to HIV/AIDS: Ahemdnagar
4. Master’s in Social Work (MSW)
IGNOU launched the Post-Graduate Degree in Social Work (MSW) from July 2008. The MSW curriculum is generic in nature which enables the learner to have basic information about the what, why and how of professional social work theory and practicum in the first year. The final year curriculum (MSW second year) have specialisation papers on primary methods of social work —namely case work, group work and community organisation. This programme was developed by the Chair in collaboration with the Florida State University, USA. Over 3000 students enroll for this programme every year.
IGNOU felicitates the first rank holder with the presentation of a Gold Medal and the Mother Teresa Memorial Cash award of Rs.10, 000/- during its annual convocation.
5. B.A (Philosophy)
The B.A (Philosophy major) programme was launched in 2009. Over 1000 students seek admission for this programme every year. Apart from this large number of students from BDP take several of the 14 elective courses. This programme is offered both in English and Hindi.
MoU Signing at Bangalore
6. M.A (Philosophy)
M.A (Philosophy) was launched in the 2010. Initially around five hundred students enrolled for this programme. This programme is offered only in English and is available across the country.
Releasing of B.A (Philosophy) Books
7. BEd: Courses on HIV/AIDS and Adolescent Education
The Teacher Education (BEd) programme of IGNOU is meant for in-service teachers across the country. The involvement of school teachers in adolescence and HIV/AIDS education is very crucial as India has significant number of people living with HIV/AIDS. The two courses of four credits each on (i) HIV/AIDS Education and (ii) Adolescence Education are being offered as compulsory courses for all the BEd students of IGNOU. Most of the course materials are adapted from the BSW courses on HIV/AIDS and family education developed by the CBCI Chair.
In order to facilitate the learning process of the students in various programmes, IGNOU provides additional multi-media support by way of audio/video programmes, Interactive Radio Counselling (IRC), teleconferencing sessions and organisation of seminars.
For the CAFÉ/DAFE/BSW/MSW and Philosophy programmes, over 60 educational video films have been produced. These are available in two languages: English and Hindi. They are telecast on Gyan Darshan (TV *-channel) and Doordarshan (DD) regularly and reach thousands of homes across the country. These educational films are also available at the Regional and Study Centres.
Interactive Radio Counselling (IRC)
HIV/AIDS, family life education, adolescence education, social work and philosophy are some of the topics of popular interest which capture the attention of the listeners of IGNOU’s IRC. The IRC sessions also extent support to the CAFÉ/DAFE/BSW students.
Interactive Teleconferencing Sessions
Best of experts are invited for the interactive teleconferencing sessions on HIV/AIDS, family education, substance abuse, philosophy and social work. Students as well as others from across the country have an opportunity to interact with the experts, and seek clarification on various issues pertaining to the topics.
Interactive Teleconferencing Session on Philosophy
Annual Mother Teresa Memorial Lecture
From 2008, the CBCI Chair is organising an Annual Mother Teresa Memorial Lecture with the aim of creating awareness on issues of national and international interest. Prominent world leaders are being invited to deliver the proposed memorial lecture. The inaugural lecture was delivered by former President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, titled 'Giving Dignity to Human Life' on March 4, 2008 at the IGNOU Convention Centre, New Delhi.
1st Mother Teresa Memorial Lecture
In 2009 Mr. Navin Chawla, Chief Election Commissioner of India and Biographer of Mother Teresa delivered the 2nd lecture
2nd Mother Teresa Memorial Lecture
In 2010, Third Annual Mother Teresa Memorial Lecture delivered by His Holiness the DALAI LAMA on "Mother and Compassion" at the Convention Centre of IGNOU, Maidan Garhi, New Delhi.
3rd Mother Teresa Memorial Lecture
State, Regional and National Seminars
IGNOU organises state, regional and an annual national seminar on social work response to HIV/AIDS for academics, NGO functionaries, school teachers and social activists, in which students are also invited to participate. The CBCI Chair collaborates with IGNOU in organising these seminars. From 2004 one annual national seminar on social work response to HIV/AIDS is being held. In 2010 the CBCI Chair also organized the first National Seminar on Philosophy at IGNOU, New Delhi.
There are number of awards sponsored by the CBCi-IGNOU Chair for out standing and deserving students of MSW/BSW Programmes
Awards in ODL
1. Bharat Ratna Mother Teresa Memorial Award
Bharat Ratna Mother Teresa Memorial Award to the Gold Medalist in MSW (ODL): Cash Award of Rs.10,000/-
2. Bharat Ratna Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam Award
Bharat Ratna Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam Award to the Gold Medalist in BSW (ODL): Cash Award of Rs.10,000/-
1. Best Field Worker (Female)
Bharat Ratna Acharya Vinoba Bhave Best Female Field Work Award: Cash Award of Rs.5,000/-
2. Best Field Worker (Male)
Padma Vibhusan Baba Amte Best Male Field Worker Award: Cash Award of Rs.5,000/-
3. Best Social Worker (Female)
Sr. Maria Faustina Pereira Award for Best Female Social Worker: Cash Award of Rs.5,000/-. (Sr. Maria Faustina Pereira was the person who started social work for the first time at undergraduate level. She was also a member of the UGC First Review Committee on Social Work Education).
4. Best Social Worker (Male)
Dr.Clifford Manshardt Award for Best Male Social Worker: Cash Award of Rs.5,000/-. (Dr. Clifford Manshardt was the person who stated social work education in India in 1936 at TISS Mumbai)
5. Best Student Award
Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil Best Student Award: Cash Award of Rs.5,000/-(Late Cardinal Varkey Vidayathil was the President of CBCI during whose time, the revised MoU of the CBCI Chair was signed at Bangalore on April 22, 2009).
Programme under planning
The CBCI Chair is currently planning and designing curriculum for M.A Christian Theology. Expert Committee meetings were held in 2011 to design the curriculum.