‘Catholic Educational Institutions Aim to Promote Critical Thinking’

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Bassey Inyang in Calabar

The National Association of Catholic Diocesan Directors/Secretaries of Education (NACDDED) has stated that its educational institutions must provide the type of teaching and learning that will produce critical thinkers that will contribute meaningfully to the development of the society.

It stated this in Calabar, Cross River State, during the national conference hosted by the Metropolitan Archbishop of the Calabar Archdiocese, Most Rev. Joseph Ekuwem recently.

The National Chairman of the association, Rev Fr. Richard Omolade, who made this known, said Catholic education “must be such that radicalism is extinguished by the force of critical thinking and not unthinking defense of God.”

He said Catholic education must be seen to be truly holistic, producing not just religious thinkers, but also scientists able to contribute to human development, especially in an age where religious bigotry and fanaticism are on the rise.

“Catholic education today must be structured as to prepare people not just for now, but for the future. Critical thinking skills must be an integral part of that education such that our students are helped to think critically so that problems can be solved in their unique varieties, instead of parroting answer fashioned by teachers.

“Catholic education must bequeath to the world a civilization of love, not just a civilization of certificate. It must focus on the promotion of a culture of life as against the current culture of death in a world riddled by unselfish bullets of choice, waste and destruction. It must also strive to preserve her identity as a faith-based educational enterprise.”

The association disagreed with the education policies of the state and federal government that tend to lump all educational institution under a single curricular, adding that demanding uniformity in teaching and learning discourages creativity and uniqueness.

At the end of three-day conference with the theme ‘Catholic Education: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow- The Way Forward’, an 11-point communiqué signed by Omolade and the National Secretary, Rev. Fr. Dominic Umo, among other recommendations, condemned the role of the ministry of education in some states, alleging that the ministry was trying to compel Catholic schools into membership of the National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools/Association of Private Schools Owners of Nigeria (NAPPS/APSON).

The document read in parts: “Catholic schools should work in closer partnership with other stakeholders in education such as the government, communities, alumni associations, Parent Teacher Associations (PTA), in keeping with the mission and vision of Catholic education.

“Catholic schools are encouraged to be involved in curricular and co-curricular activities which will promote friendship and healthy competition. The management of Catholic schools should continue to ensure constant inspection, supervision and evaluation for quality assurance.

The communique also called on the management of Catholic schools to ensure that they remain communities of faith where sound morals, Catholic core values and academic excellence are upheld. “The management of Catholic schools should keep emphasising the use and control of ICT in enhancing teaching and learning. Government is reminded of her responsibility to provide grants-in-aid and other necessary subsidies to Catholic schools as they are social welfare schools

“Government should provide additional measures to ensure adequate security and safety of our children in schools. We recall with satisfaction the immense contribution and quality that Catholic education has brought to our nation. The courage and sacrifices of the early missionaries which bore tremendous positive fruits will always be remembered and sustained in our lives and times.”