‘Education should promote critical thinking, not irrational defense of God’

By Emmanuel Akaniyene, Calabar

Members of the National Association of Catholic Diocesan Directors/Secretaries of Education (NACDDED) have stated that Catholic education “must be such that radicalism is extinguished by the force of critical thinking and not unthinking defense of God.”

Making the disclosure recently was the National Chairman, Rev Fr (Dr) Richard Omolade during the national conference of the association held in Calabar, the Cross River State capital recently.

Omolade said in an age of religious bigotry and fanaticism, Catholic education must be seen to be truly holistic, producing not just religious thinkers, but also scientist able to contribute to human development.

The three-day Conference which had as its theme Catholic Education: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow – The Way Forward was hosted by the Metropolitan Archbishop of the Calabar Archdioecese, Most Rev (Dr) Joseph Ekuwem.

The association said Catholic education must also strive to preserve her identity as a faith based educational enterprise.

They frowned at government policies that tend to lump everybody together, demanding a uniformity, which they said precludes creativity and uniqueness.

“Catholic education today must be structured as to prepare people not just for now, but for the future. Critical thinking skills must be an intergral part of that education such that our students are helped to thinking 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,” he said.

An 11-point Communiqué at the end of the Conference, condemned the role of the Ministry of Education in some States trying to compel Catholic Schools into Membership of National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools/Association of Private Schools Owners of Nigeria (NAPPS/APSON), saying they are Voluntary Agency Schools and should be recognized as such.

They however, appreciated the efforts of some State Governments in ensuring the formulation and implementation of good educational policies, and encouraged other States to do the same.

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