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Churches push for education, the universal religion

- Authorities at GEL and CNI announce six mega plans, five related to equipping youths with job skills

For thousands of youngsters preparing to flee the state right after Class XII fearing paucity of livelihood training courses, here’s some big good news.

Two Protestant churches in Ranchi — Gossner Evangelical Lutheran (GEL) Church and the Church of North India (CNI) — have on Sunday announced separate mega plans to beef up job-oriented education in the state.

Both the GEL and CNI churches have announced three initiatives each. Of the six, five are related to technical education and one is on health.

First, the GEL Church will set up a welfare fund, with a corpus of Rs 50 lakh, to award scholarships to meritorious students from the state — religion and gender no bar — to pursue higher studies at top medical, engineering, business and law schools across the country.

Secondly, the church started work on setting up a vocational hub with residential facilities exclusively for women on its Technical Training College campus in Fudi, Khunti, some 40km from Ranchi.

Not only will the facility have a 50-bed hostel for women, it will offer them a range of courses on computers, tailoring, driving, carpentry, masonry, automobile repairing and welding.

Last but not the least, the existing Technical Training College will get a major upgrade. “It will turn into four-year multidisciplinary engineering college in collaboration with Emden Technical School, Germany. We promise top-notch education at affordable costs,” said Nelson Lakra, moderator, GEL Church.

On the student scholarship, Lakra added a board of trustees would monitor the welfare fund and lay down funding guidelines. “Merit, not sex or religion, will be the sole criterion for our funding,” Lakra stressed.

B.B. Baskey, Church of North India’s bishop of Chotanagpur, elaborated its youth-friendly plans.

“We are planning to set up two teacher training (BEd) colleges in Ranchi and Hazaribagh, and a BSc nursing college for women in Ranchi, all in the current fiscal. We will also upgrade our existing St Barnabas Hospital at Church Road in the capital into a state-of-the-art health hub,” he said.

On the logistics of the BEd college in Ranchi, he said: “We are running a vocational training centre at St Paul’s School campus on Church Road, Ranchi. The building is old but we intend to convert it into a BEd college for which necessary formalities are being processed, so that we can begin functioning this year itself,”

“Later, we will construct a new building on vacant land,” Baskey added.

The CNI bishop also pointed out all efforts were also being made to convert the existing St Barnabas Hospital into a super-speciality hospital. “It’s biggest advantage is that it is located in the heart of the city. If it is upgraded, it will really benefit a great many people,” he added.