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KEYNOTE ADDRESS DELIVERED DURING THE CATHOLIC PRIVATE EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS CONFERENCE, MARCH 6TH -9TH, 2018 AT CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY OF EASTERN AFRICA BY RT. REV. MAURICE M. MAKUMBA CHAIRMAN COMMISSION FOR EDUCATION & RELIGIOUS EDUCATION, KENYA CONFERENCE OF CATHOLIC BISHOPS
Prof. Justus Mbae Vice Chancellor of the Catholic University of Eastern Africa
Very Rev. Fr. Daniel Kimutai Rono- the General Secretary of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops
Members of Staff –Commission for Education & Religious Education
Education Secretaries and Religious Education Advisors
Principals, head teachers and Directors of Catholic Private Institutions
Ladies and gentlemen:
I welcome you to the CaPEIA 2018 Conference, a conference that is focused on leadership in Catholic private educational institutions. It is a great joy to see you all and humbling to have you in this great Auditorium. The Bishops Conference wishes to express gratitude for the great work you are doing in ensuring that Catholic private schools offer quality education and remain truly Catholic. I congratulate your Schools for posting impressive 2017 KCPE and KCSE results.
The theme for this Conference is ‘Parental Empowerment and Engagement for holistic Education’’. This theme is inspired by Titus 2:7, ‘’In all things you yourself…be sincere and serious in your teaching’ This quotation from Titus singles what three things that parents and educators need to focus on that is faith, sincerity and seriousness in the education of their children.
This theme focuses on parenting in order to:
- Inspire parents to take up their role in values and faith formation of their children more seriously
- Encourage them to participate in all aspects of the education of their children
- Support their children in achievement of their life goals
- Take up responsibility of preventing abuse of their children in and out of school
- Productively engage with the school administration and teachers for the good of their children
- Build our own capacity to empower parents/guardians as our collaborators in provision of holistic education.
We truly appreciate that the new curriculum has this theme as one of the major principles.
You will agree with me that successful educational programs depend upon the cooperation and involvement of the parents with the school. According to Declaration on Christian Education (Gravissimum Educationis, 3; 1965), parents have given children their life, they are bound by the most serious obligation to educate their offspring and therefore must be recognized as the primary and principal educators.
Therefore, partnership between your Catholic school and the families of pupils and students must continue and be strengthened: not simply to be able to deal with academic problems that may arise, but rather so that the educational goals of the school can be achieved. This partnership is more important today, when dealing with sensitive issues such as religion, moral values, human sexuality education, pornography, social media, child protection as well as rights and responsibilities of children. This partnership is not a question of convenience, but a serious partnership based on faith, value of children as a gift from God and the future of any society.
We must make parents aware of the dangers of Comprehensive Sexuality Education, and at the same time empower them to educate their children on age-appropriate human sexuality. Other threats to children in our schools that parents can assist to address are radicalization, drug abuse, teenage suicide which you are going to deal with this week.
Catholic tradition teaches that God has bestowed on the family its own specific and unique educational mission, we must uphold this mission in our schools (Congregation for Catholic Education, 1988). As Catholic Educators we need to help parents understand and appreciate their roles in school as spelt out by Canon 792 §2;
“Parents must cooperate closely with the teachers of the schools to which they entrust their children to be educated; moreover, teachers in fulfilling their duty are to collaborate very closely with parents, who are to be heard willingly and for whom associations or meetings are to be established and highly esteemed’’.
I call upon you to consider the following in empowering parents of your schools in the following roles:
- Being active in the faith development of their children and worship .Participating in school Masses when possible
- Ensuring children participate and contribute to Community service
- Instilling in each child positive values, attitudes and behaviour.
- Supporting school and class regulations and policies. These include policies such as Code of Dressing
- Supporting the educational programs offered at school by conscientious supervision of school assignments.
It is your task as Catholic school leadership to ensure that parents understand what Catholic identity of a school is and engage them in maintaining that identity
I am asking each of your schools to draw up a formal program of continuous parental empowerment and engagement that can be monitored assessed and replicated somewhere else. This is a task CaPEIA at the Diocese should undertake as this year’s assignment. I look forward to listening to the best practices and lessons learnt from your schools during next years’ CaPEIA Conference.
I will now address you on your other roles
- Spiritual leaders in and of Catholic schools.
You are leaders with a difference; leaders in and of institutions whose first mission is to make “disciples of all nations ’’Matthew 28:18-20. You can only make disciples if you are one. Therefore, the need to model discipleship is paramount in Catholic schools. In your school, a number of staff may not be practising Catholics and it is not likely to be any time. These members look up to you to understand and appreciate what the Catholic faith is all about and how it can impact on life positively. As leaders, there is need:
- Have annual induction for all members of staff on Catholic identity
- Identify core –Christian values and systematically inculcate them in the school community
- Ensure the Catholic children receive age –appropriate catechism
- Prepare well for and celebrate the school Saint day and other days of obligation
- Carry out faith formation programs for all staff ( not for conversion purposes).It is this same staff who understand what the Catholic faith is about that will impart Catholic values on the learners.
- Educational Leaders
As educational leaders there is need to adhere to the established Church and Government regulations including:
- Competitive recruitment of teachers in respect to quality, performance and character (background search is very important)
- Ensuring that all teachers are registered by the TSC .It is a criminal offense with tough penalties to have a non-registered teacher n any school today. Registration is for the good of your school
- Not engaging anyone who has been de-registered by TSC for whatever reasons.
- Ensuring child friendly learning environment with no corporal punishment.
- Using competency based teaching methodologies to maintain performance.
On governance, every school should have a formerly established and functional Board of Management. This will give a sense of accountability to the stakeholders and will shield the head and manager of the institution from uncalled for suspicion and criticism.
As I conclude, I wish to address you as CaPEIA Association members.
I note with gratitude that the numbers are increasing every successive year .This is a sign that what CaPEIA is doing is attracting attention .I encourage you to continue with activities at your school, Diocesan and national level with even greater enthusiasm.
We are aware that we have many more Catholic private Educational institutions out there waiting to be introduce to CaPEIA BY YOU. I invite each one of you to seek out one other Catholic educational institution and bring them to the fold, so that in the year 2019 ,the number here will be doubled. Remember as Catholics “United we stand’’- We shall make a stronger impression and greater discipleship.’’.
I wish you very fruitful discussions and may this conference be to you an opportunity to learn, reflect, share and enhance your spiritual growth and professional skills.
I will leave you with these challenging words from Pope Benedict XV1
“A good school provides a rounded education for the whole person. And a good Catholic school, over and above this, should help all its students to become saints.’
Thank you & God Bless You All !