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Thai bishops focus on quality education and spiritual formation

August 30, 2013 - The Catholic bishops of Thailand have decided to improve educational standards in Catholic schools in line with international standards while promoting the knowledge of catechism and the basics of the faith. The decision was taken by the Catholic Bishops Conference of Thailand (CBCT) at its meeting in Pattaya. The meeting in which 400 educators from 10 different dioceses in the country participated concentrated on education and the contribution offered by Christian run schools. During the three-day seminar bishops, priests and lay people discussed the quality standards and analyzed the results obtained from the schools in the field of evangelization and moral and civic education. CBCT president, Archbishop Louis Chamnien Shantisukniran of Thare and Nonseng, pointed out that it is the duty of the Catholic Church to help its most representative institutions to "express their Catholic identity ." The prelate recalled the objectives of the 2010-2015 Pastoral Plan, according to which schools and educational centres are the focal point "of proclaiming the Gospel ." It is the duty of educators to be "living witnesses " of Jesus among students, he said.
Fr. Francis Xavier Deja Arpornrat , executive secretary of the Episcopal Conference , recalled that Catholic schools aimed at the "integral" development of the person , so parents had great "confidence" in them. For the future it is important to "preserve" the identity while "enhancing " the teaching methods used , in order to obtain highest quality standards . "We need to renew the methods and reform the system - said the priest - adapting to changing times ."
The intervention of the Archbishop of Bangkok , Msgr. Francis Xavier Kriengsak Kovinthavanij , was inspired by the New Evangelization and encounter with the faithful of other religions. " All the disciples of Christ - said the prelate - are called to announce and share the Good News" with those who have not encountered the Gospel with those who do not believe. He invited Catholics to promote inter-religious dialogue, which is an integral part and "plays a leading role in the New Evangelization ." Finally, the archbishop highlighted Gospel values ​​such as morality and virtue, to help students, their culture and life and which are an essential part of the program of an institution of Christian inspiration along with technology, new media and respect for the environment.
Catholics are a very small percentage in Thailand, only 0.1 % of a total population of 66.7 million inhabitants. But the community is full of vitality and initiative especially in the social and education sector. There are some 300 Catholic schools in Thailand, attended by more than half a million students of different religious faiths. (Source: AsiaNews)


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