Archbishop Leo Cornelio of Bhopal says the Madhya Pradesh state government should devote its efforts to improving education in its own schools and leave Church-run institutions to their own devices.
“Officials should concentrate on improving standards in government schools rather than harassing Church educational institutions,” the prelate said.
He was addressing more than 100 principals and managers of Catholic schools on Saturday in Bhopal, the state capital.
The Inter-Diocesan Educational Board that oversees the management of Catholic schools in Madhya Pradesh organized the July 15-16 meeting to address allegations the government is using the Right to Education Act to interfere with the running of Christian schools.
The petition, challenging the state government’s order seeking the implementation of the Right to Education Act in minority schools, was filed by Father Anand Muttungal, the Church’s spokesman in the state, who claimed that after the order was issued government officials began interfering with the running of minority-run schools thus undermining their rights.
Archbishop Cornelio urged the state government to “treat our schools with dignity and without discrimination.”
The archbishop, who heads the educational board, claimed that Church schools have always cooperated with the government and are willing to provide free quality education to eligible children.
“The state government should consider Christian institutions as a partner in its mission for development,” he added.