. . . As Awka Diocese Holds Maiden Education Summit
By Ifeoma Ezenyilimba
The Catholic Bishop of Awka Diocese, Most Rev Paulinus Ezeokafor, has called on the Nigerian Government and the Anambra State Government to give the needed grant in aid to the mission schools in the state so as to reduce the high cost associated with quality education.
Bishop Ezeokafor, who stated this in his homily at the Concelebrated Holy Mass to declare open the Maiden Awka Diocesan Education Summit at St Patrick’s Cathedral, Awka, November 4, noted that the grant when given by the government, would make qualitative education easier and accessible for all, as well as sustain overwhelmingly, the all-round formation which the mission schools provided to students.
The bishop averred that the Catholic schools were not out to make money, but to provide education for all. He stated that if the government provided grant in aid to the mission schools, the funds would go a long way to fund the payment of teachers, as well as other school needs and make education affordable for all, especially the poor.
He noted that the pupils and students of the mission schools in Anambra State were also bonafide citizens of the state and deserved the right to the grant in aid which their mates in the government-owned schools enjoyed.
The education-friendly Catholic Bishop maintained that if the state government would give the mission schools about 70% of the education grants which it gave to government schools, the Church would turn the education sector around for the better. He maintained that the mission schools of the diocese, which, he said, were committed to excellence, had been performing wonderfully well and deserved the right to education grants.
He likened the Maiden Summit which was held from 4th – 8th November, to the theme: ”Education for Character Formation, Empowerment and Salvation to a Diocesan Synod”, and said that the outcome of the Maiden Education Summit would go a long way in improving the educational institutions of the diocese for the better.
Pointing out that education comprised all round formation, the bishop urged the students to make the best of the quality education formation they were receiving in the mission schools, be disciplined individuals, and excel in hard work and excellence so as to be responsible persons in future.
‘You have to have good listening ears, learn and read. Seek first the kingdom of good certificate and good learning, and other things you need will be added unto you. Make discipline your watchword. Bend down, learn from you teacher, add your own knowledge so as to be greater than your teacher,’ Bishop Ezeokafor advised the students.
The Catholic prelate who noted that mission schools insisted on zero tolerance for examination malpractice, chided parents, teachers and students against what he described as magic results. This was even as he charged the students and the teachers to dispose themselves to learning.
Addressing the teachers he said, ‘Teaching is a vocation, and not a profession. As teachers in the vocation of formation of young ones, who will take over as leaders of tomorrow, you have enormous responsibilities. You are expected to be authorities in what you teach so as to impart the needed good knowledge to the students.
‘My dear teachers, you have to prepare, work hard, learn regularly and be the master of what you teach. Because no one gives what he has not.’
He told them that the students would trust them if they saw them