By Alex Taremwa
The Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) yesterday, Tuesday launched a Ugandan chapter for the organization at a week long East African Christian Education summit held at Uganda Christian University, Mukono.
The newly opened Ugandan office is the latest of the 17 country offices world-wide making ACSI the largest protestant education world-wide serving nearly 24,000 schools in more than 100 countries.
The ASCI according to Mike Epp, the association’s Global Senior Vice President, is primarily making partnerships to equip and strengthen educators enabling them to fully prepare their students academically to integrate Jesus Christ in education at all levels.
“Christian educators help cultivate a worldview in which God has his rightful place, and they look to the Bible for guidance in answering life’s big questions. These teachers enhance children’s spiritual development in an intentional, nurturing manner,” he said.
Epp insisted that a Christian education at an ACSI member school will help children grow spiritually, academically, and culturally. “In fact, the recent Cardus Education Survey and other education studies show that ACSI schools develop the whole child better than any other type of school.”
Since 2007, ACSI has over 120 member schools in Uganda and Epp hopes that the opening of a Ugandan office will expedite the process of partnering with as many schools and help in their accreditation to integrate christian values in the current education curriculum.
He was addressing the East African Christian Education Summit held under the theme Christian Education in the Era of Bureaucracy that brought together over 150 delegates from across the world and was flagged off the Ms. Allen Kagina, the Executive Director of the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) who represented the First Lady of Uganda Janet Museveni.
In her speech, Janet Museveni admonished about the risk of producing sham citizens if the church doesn’t stand firmly to integrate values into the education system to promote spirituality for moral development.
“It is in your hands that the student must be molded and equipped to make the right moral decisions when confronted with situations that challenge their personal faith. Therefore young people should be exposed to Christian teaching so as to develop a firm foundation upon which all other knowledge should be built,” she wrote.
The First Lady, who is also a profound member of the Born-Again community of Uganda further acknowledged that allowing breeding room for spiritual diversity through granting the fundamental rights to worship and association. In most countries she argued, believers are forbidden by law, Bible disregarded in constitutions and curriculums adding that educations institutions should encourage personal character development above all things as custodians of social conscience.
The ACSI Country Director, Davis Samuel Hiire admitted that there are growing bureaucratic challenges that face christian educations institutions in the region especially on the side of government regulation and foresight adding that it is such challenges that the association seeks to address.
“We have seen most institutions starting out as Christian but change philosophy along the way. This is majorly because of the bureaucratic architecture of either the presiding governments or administrations. It’s this bureaucracy that informs the theme of this years summit,” he explained.
Secularism threatening spirituality:
Dr. Samson Makhado, the ACSI Director Africa disregarded as baseless information that it is technology fueling secular humanism in Africa. He argued that Africans should find a common approach to achieving their own development instead of dancing to the drumbeats of the West.
“Take the Ugandan curriculum for example, students are studying things in 1400 Britain and Europe that the Europeans themselves have already forgotten. How sincerely can a colonial curriculum equip a student with skills to solve problems facing his society in Africa,” he wondered.
Makhado, an educationist in South Africa advised the contemporary youth to use modernity especially the internet responsibly to change livelihoods of others and acknowledged social media as fundamental to social change in Africa if it is properly used.