The Mother Teresa Chair is being closed down for want of funds.
Christians have condemned the Indira Gandhi National Open University’s (IGNOU) decision to discontinue the Mother Teresa Chair in health, education and social work started in the Christ Jubilee Year 2000.
“We condemn the reprehensible and in-comprehensive decision of Indian Government-sponsored IGNOU to discontinue the Mother Teresa Chair,” said John Dayal, secretary general of the All India Christian Council, in a press statement.
“We call upon the Board of Management of IGNOU not to close down the Mother Teresa Chair, but to add to its endowment to further the cause of social work and research,” he added.
The Mother Teresa Chair is ostensibly being closed down for want of funds, together with a Chair sponsored by the Indian Space organisation and some others.
The University’s Board of Management “decided to continue with chairs that are sponsored by an outside agency and did not utilize the funds of the university,” M Aslam, vice-chancellor of IGNOU, had said in the media.
There was opposition to it with some of the academic staff calling it unilateral. Professors say the guidelines for establishment of a chair sets rule for setting up a new chair, it does not say anything about discontinuing an existing chair.
The discontinuance of the Mother Teresa Chair comes at a time when there is a global Catholic campaign urging Pope Francis to fast track the canonization of the Albanian-born Indian-national Nobel Laureate.
The Chair was established in a Memorandum of understanding between the Catholics Bishops’ Conference of India and the university on February 29, 2000.
It facilitates the initiatives of IGNOU for launching several socially relevant programs of study. 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 programs, extension activities and research and to develop and launch socially-relevant courses and programs of study such as social work, HIV/AIDS, family life education, substance abuse, and philosophy. It offers various diplomas and degrees in these subjects.
Source: Press statement