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India: Jesuit-run Catholic college marks 10 years of existence

left to right: Principal Martin Poras and Rector Sebastian Plattotham with other dignitaries on stage (Photo supplied)

The only Catholic-run Institute of Management and Technology in Bihar state in eastern India, marked 10 years of its existence as it celebrated its annual day on May 21. 

St. Xavier's College of Management and Technology (SXCMT) stands on the 23 acres of XTTI, a former Jesuit formation house. 

A young institution located in Patna, the state capital, it is fast gaining a reputation as one of Bihar's leading colleges.

Jesuit Father Martin Poras, the principal of SXCMT, in his annual day address, underlined that the college strives to impart human values based on the Jesuit indicators or 'Six Cs": Conscience, Commitment, Compassion, Collaboration, Creativity, and Competence.

"Our college is rooted in the context of the Jesuit preferential option for the poor. On the one hand, we strive to give our students the best education that is possible within our means. On the other hand, we ensure that the students from disadvantaged social and economic backgrounds have fair access to a good education," said Jesuit Father Tomy Joseph, a former principal, while explaining the need for 'going the extra mile.’

The college offers six undergraduate [three years] Bachelor's programs in Business Administration, Computer Application, Commerce [Professional], International Business, and Journalism and Mass Communication.

In the current academic year, SXCMT invested over Indian rupees 800,000 (US$ 10,280) in its unique 'Earn and Learn' project for poor students.

"In 2014, the Journalism and Mass Communication department was unique in Bihar. We were handling cameras and equipment, and given a free hand to be creative, even make mistakes," says Seema Kumari, one among the 15 Journalism and Mass Communication students of the 'first batch' of the department.

Dalit and tribal students from the remote rural areas of Bihar, find a place and a chance for the future. 

First batch of Mass communication students in 2014 (Photo supplied)

"I am one of the lucky ones. I am from the Tharu tribe in North Bihar. When I came to St. Xavier's, I was weak in English. I am from a poor family. The compulsory English proficiency classes, and the Earn and Learn scheme for poor students, helped me immensely,” Amarjeet, an alumnus of the college, told RVA News.

He is currently working as a project officer with Bihar Dalit Vikas Samiti. 

"The college answered a long-felt need for the Christian community. The Jesuits were focused on school education for decades, and after Bihar split in 2000, the Christian-run colleges ended up in Jharkhand state. Only Patna Women's College run by the Apostolic Carmel Sisters was left in Bihar. So while Christian girl students had access to a value-based education, there was no place to send our boys to," says Ajit Julius, a Catholic social worker in Patna.

"It has been a pleasure collaborating with the Jesuits at SXCMT,” says Neerja Lal, former head of the Mass Communication department of the college. "The secular values, and the way staff and students are motivated to do their best and strive for excellence, set the college apart from others. One day, the dream of establishing an autonomous Xavier University will come true." - Frank Krishner


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