It is not an exaggeration to describe Catholic education as a cure for bad behaviour in children and young adults. It is also not an overstatement to refer to it as “an inoculation against cultism and other immoral acts ravaging our schools,” as the Very Rev. Msgr. Kevin Akagha stated, recently, in a homily.
Any product of Catholic Education knows what goes into the training of a child in a Catholic School. Parents and guardians whose children and wards have benefitted from the strong academic, spiritual and moral training which Catholic education has traditionally offered, also know.
Catholics have a three-dimensional approach to World Evangelisation which comprises Church, School and Hospital. Each is passion-driven, well structured and vigorously pursued.
Catholic schools have a long history in Nigeria. Attending a Catholic School has been a thing of pride for both students and their parents. Because of the quality of education on offer and the product which emerges at the end, those who went to Catholic school usually hold their heads high and declare with pride, “I attended a Catholic School, you know?” Others would say, “I am a product of St Patricks Calabar, CIC Enugu, St Theresa Nsukka, Holy Ghost College Owerri and many others.
Those who attended Catholic schools and colleges in those days come out with a holistic education, which impacts on the whole person both as an individual and member of a community. Catholic Education is about building a wholesome individual who is not just academically sound, but spiritually and morally healthy too.
As some people put it, you do not just pass through the school; the school passes through you also. You learn discipline, service, team work and how to live and function in a society as a rational human being. You cannot divorce good morals from good education. Guns and drugs have no place in Catholic Education.
Catholic education balances education with deep spiritual dimension. Catholic Education is active in teaching a child that God is in their life and all around him or her. A child learns how to see these “footprints of God” in their daily lives and teachers go the extra mile to give a “Christ like service”. As a child’s awareness of God develops; he or she becomes an instrument of God’s grace in the family, community and in the world. This is one of the benefits of Catholic Education which was compromised when Government took over mission schools in the 1970s
Things changed: the young impressionable minds were exposed to a lot of garbage and the result is what we see today.
Repairs have been going on since Government returned Catholic schools to its owners some years ago – 2010. But enormous damage has been done and getting it right again will take time. Though things have fallen apart, but Catholic Education can pick up the pieces with Government’s help and support.
This is why we are asking for the return of Grants in Aid to enable schools to rebuild. Catholic Education has a sound history and should not be expected to go cap in hand, begging for financial help. A Government which knows that the future belongs to our children and understands the value of a good education should not delay to give adequate subvention to schools to ensure they run properly.
We want Government to recognise and appreciate the value of Catholic Education and its contributions to the education of our children by starting again to give grants to Catholic and supporting other deserving schools.