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Catholic Education Has Transformed the Society – Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama

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By Jide Afolabi, Jos

The Apostolic Administrator, Catholic Archdiocese of Jos and the Co-Adjutor Archbishop of Abuja Archdiocese, His Grace, Most Rev. Ignatius Ayau Kaigama has said that Catholic Education worldwide has touched people positively and have helped to transform the society in many ways.

Kaigama said this in his address at the opening ceremony of the first Education Summit organised by the Education Commission of the Catholic Archdiocese of Jos, holding at St. Louis College in Jos, Plateau state capital on Wednesday.

He, however, expressed disappointment at the Nigerian Governments for not giving adequate support to genuine partnership with the private sector.

Kaigama registered his displeasure when he observed the absence of all stakeholders in the education sector in the state, including the State Ministry of Education, Teachers Service Commission and the State Universal Basic Education Board at the Summit.

“Unfortunately, I must repeat, I want to express my sadness over the absence of Government representation in this summit, and this is the attitude of Nigerian government, from all levels. They are not interested in Geniune Partnership. And is high time they should change their orientation.

“We are Desired to give government the necessary support, but Government is not interested. The Church has seen darkness and is trying to light the candles for government to support some of these faith based institutions to better the Society.”

In his speech, Kaigama said, “Catholic worldwide has been acclaimed to touch people positively and to have helped to transform society in many ways. This explains why in advanced countries, governments would deliberately assist, invest and collaborate with the Catholic Church in the running of primary, secondary and tertiary institutions.

“Many Governors and Presidents in different parts of the world have attended or graduated from Catholic Schools.

“The Emir of Kano, Alhaji Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, does not fail to mention his positive experience in a Catholic School. Alhaji Yahaya Kwande, a ninety-year-old Muslim, often tells about the impact on him and others of the Catholic school they attended in Kwande and Shendam. Even though as an ardent practicing Muslim, he would occasionally and nostalgically burst into Latin songs learned in his Catholic primary school days. That he became a top-level administrator during the colonial period and rose to become an Ambassador, we believe is a testimony of the good seed planted in him by the Catholic educational system.

“Our Governor in Plateau State, Rt. Hon. Barr. Simon Bako Lalong, together with some of his commissioners and Senior members in the present government, including some traditional rulers have in one way or the other been beneficiaries of Catholic education. To God be the Glory!

“The final section of the second Vatican council declaration on Catholic Education, Gravissimum Educationis are devoted to Catholic schools. The Catholic school is envisioned as an aid to fostering the dialogue between the Church and humankind. Such a dialogue is understood as contributing to the betterment of culture, which has, inter alia as a goal, the deliberate, holistic and functional education of the children and the young people for a better society. In order to maintain standard and quality, I call on our Education office, under the dynamic Leadership of Mrs. Rose Agur, LSM, to ensure regular, rigorous monitoring and evaluation of our Catholic schools”.

The Archbishop reminded parents of the Biblical instructions which said, “train up a child in the way he/she should go, even when he/she is old, he/she will not depart from it (cf. Prev. 221 6).

“The Church teaches that by its very nature marriage is ordained for the procreation and education of children (can. 1055, 1136). The procreation and education of children are essentially linked. Therefore, parents have the solemn duty and consequent right to provide for their children’s physical social, cultural, moral and religious formation.

“The religious formation of the child is of primary importance. Canon 793 affirms the right and duty of parents to choose the most appropriate way and piece of educating their children but at the same time asserts that both the Church and state have an interest and responsibility in providing whatever support is needed to carry out this obligation. Hence, in consolidating Catholic education parents, government and teachers must necessarily collaborate to achieve a holistic education. And for the pupils and students who are the beneficiarles‚ I exhort you to listen to your parents’ and teachers’ instructions and do not forsake their teaching (cf. Prev. 1:8)”.

The 3-day Education Summit was organised by the Education Commission of the Catholic Archdiocese of Jos. The main programme is holding at Sacred Heart Pastoral Centre (Bishop’s Court) in Jos. The theme of the summit is “Consolidating Catholic Education in Archdiocese of Jos”.

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