Reba Veronica D'Costa
- Ed.D Curriculum & Instruction
- Country of Origin
- Current Location
What inspired you to be an educator?
The desire to teach was ignited and nurtured by the influence of my father, mother and my eldest sister. Of my siblings, cousins, and relatives, twelve were teachers. Outstanding among these is my father who was known for his involvement in promoting social change and rural development in Bangladesh. As a member of the Congregation of Our Lady of the Missions, my vision and commitment to education were reinforced by its mission, and its foundress, Euphrasie Barbiere’s (1829-1893) passion to educate the women and children of Bangladesh.
I am grateful to the President of Loyola University Chicago, Fr. Michael J. Garanzini, S.J., for his support and encouragement during my doctoral studies. When I consider the vast number of citizens of my country who are deprived of education and its consequences I am challenged to make a difference in their lives. I believe that education is fundamental to the foundation of the socioeconomic, political, cultural and religious development of individuals and society.
What are the greatest educational needs in your country?
According to the 2008 UNESCO and Bangladesh Bureau Statistics, the national literacy rate is only 48.8 percent. In the 21st century with an increasingly technological global society, it is unimaginable that half the population remains illiterate in Bangladesh. Because of illiteracy, the country is burdened with poverty, overpopulation, oppression, and corruption in different sectors of personal and public life. It is urgent that education be promoted at all levels. The energy of youth cannot be wasted only in meeting the demands of national exams. Hence, the educational system needs to improve its curriculum and instruction. The oppression of women can no longer be observed in silence; a curriculum must be introduced that will empower women for liberation and leadership. Bangladesh must claim its dignity as an independent modern nation in today’s world by promoting schools, colleges and universities for all citizens, particularly rural women.
How will what you learn at Loyola positively impact your work in your country when you return?
Since 1883, my religious community has been committed to promoting literacy in Bangladesh. At the present time, the sisters are administering and teaching in six high schools and twelve elementary schools in rural and urban areas of the country. Recently the community has embarked on a new educational project with two aims in mind. It plans to establish a college for women in rural areas where the need is greatest. In addition to this, there is a plan to develop leadership among women so that through their efforts, these women may contribute to the sociocultural, economic, political, and religious development of the country. The international and multicultural environment and the atmosphere of openness and collaboration created at Loyola among the administration, councils of regents, professors, staff, and students is an inspiring example to me. On my return to Bangladesh, I am determined to make the fullest use of the knowledge and skills that I had learned in courses offered in curriculum and instruction and in administration and supervision.