Nigeria’s Education System “losing relevance”, Alternative in Catholic Schools: Archbishop

The education system in Nigeria is becoming irrelevant, the Catholic Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Abuja in the West African nation has said.

In his address during the 11th convocation of Veritas University in his Metropolitan See, Archbishop Ignatius Ayau Kaigama said Catholic schools can provide “the last viable alternatives” and called upon students in these institutions to aim at becoming well-rounded persons.

“Catholic schools still represent one of the last viable alternatives to an education system that is fast getting out of touch and losing relevance,” Archbishop Kaigama said in the address published Tuesday, December 6 on his Facebook page.

Referencing John Henry Newman’s preface in his book, “The Idea of a University”, the Nigerian Archbishop said, “The goal of a Catholic university should be to make its students gentlemen rather than simply to protect the interests and advance the dominion of science.”

He urged students at Veritas University, an institution founded by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN), to apply what they have learned to transform society.

“We expect our young people, who pass through Veritas University, to emerge as well-rounded individuals who are ready and willing to make a difference in society,” Archbishop Kaigama said during the convocation held December 3.

“After acquiring your university degree in your respective disciplines, it is assumed that you are now ripe to be given responsibilities to contribute your quota to society,” he said, and addressing himself to the graduands, he added, “From today moving forward, the way and manner you carry yourselves, must be as persons who are groomed and cultured.”

The Local Ordinary of Abuja Archdiocese urged the graduands to be law-abiding citizens, and responsible young adults capable of playing their role in the national development of their country and the whole world.

The Nigerian Archbishop who has been at the helm of Abuja Archdiocese since November 2019 challenged the graduands to incorporate the education gained at the University to transcend the way they speak and handle affairs that concern them. 

He also urged the graduands to “exude a certain presence and confidence as individuals who have passed through the walls of a university wherever they will work after graduation.”

“You must be seen by society as young brilliant minds that represent the future of this country and the beacon of hope for the next generation after you and you must work hard to make a good name for yourselves,” the Catholic Church leader who started his Episcopal Ministry in April 1995 as Bishop of Nigeria’s Jalingo Diocese said.

Archbishop Kaigama also called on the graduands to remain ambassadors of Veritas University Abuja by living “a life of truth and integrity”.

Without truth and integrity, the Local Ordinary of Abuja Archdiocese said, the future success of the graduands will be “vanity.”

“May the Holy Spirit of God light up your path as you seek your future. Go and conquer the world but don’t let the world conquer you and rob you of the values acquired here in this fast-growing prestigious Veritas University,” he said.

Archbishop Kaigama also acknowledged the efforts of the lectures at the institution of higher learning and urged them “to continue to be models for their students by bearing transparent witness to Christ and the beauty of the gospel.”

“No effort should be spared in guaranteeing the presence of such witness in the University,” he said, and called for collaboration between members of the staff, parents, and board members of the University for the common good of the institution.

The Nigerian Church leader said that the communion among the university’s stakeholders “fosters an appreciation of the various charisms and vocations that build up a genuine university community and strengthen scholastic solidarity.”

Educators, administrators, parents, and Bishops are important in guiding the school “to make choices that encourage solidarity instead of individualistic self-promotion and competition; assisting the vulnerable instead of marginalization or discrimination, responsible participation instead of indifference,” he said.

In his address, Archbishop Kaigama also urged the university’s chaplaincy to be “vibrant enough in attracting students and indeed the entire community, to come to know, love and serve Jesus.”

He said that the chaplaincy’s role is essential since the Church’s greatest educational challenge is ensuring the Catholic identity.


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