Taking stock: Learning to be Educated
Today we celebrate the 75th years since Loreto School was founded by the Loreto Sisters as part of their Mission that was bequeathed them by the founder of their congregation, Sister Mary Ward. The celebration is taking place ar our time when dark forces have been set to fight against the Christian faith in the world.
I am however, glad to note that Loreto High School has protected and maintained its status of a Catholic School despite the modern challenges which any church sponsored school face today. The school has three characteristics that define any Catholic school in the world :
a) It is a community of students and teachers, administrators and parents, none teaching staff and resource people.
b) It is a faith community of Christian youth and adults who come together to make Christ present among them in a special way
c) The school is an exemplary Catholic School that has the proper blend of learning and believing in the community.
The three characteristics have made the school popular and thus unable to cope with large number of applications from young girls who seek admission every year.
Quality education has been misinterpreted by many to mean high mean grades in the final examinations. Many parents have as a result looked forward to enrolling their children in schools which are perceived to be performing academically well. We however, read cases of university students being caught with guns in their hostel. Obviously they are good students during the day and thugs at night. These kinds of students were admitted into university because they had met the requirements of attaining high mean grades possibly of A calibre. But whereas they are academically brilliant, they have several challenges as human beings including lack of respect for others. The schools that produced them made them learned but not educated. They did not get quality education.
Quality education is holistic and develops the entire human person of the learner. It emphasizes intellectual, spiritual and character formations. When one gets the intellectual formation only, she/he is likely to be empty of human virtues that help one to know himself/herself fully and show respect to others. Such are the persons we often witness shouting and insulting others in public and as children watch and hear ….. .. An educated person is patient and understanding, does not insult anybody either in public or private and does not indulgy corruption; instead he/she does things for COMMON GOOD.
There is therefore a great difference between being learned and educated. The mastery of academic work (being learned) is just part of and not the whole of education. Our great grandparents were very educated but were not learned; they could not read and write. We need more people with quality education in our country.
Offering education in virtues
In order to develop a student into a useful human person Education must be offered in virtues. Virtues are habitual practices that we acquire by practice.
Both at the home and the school, the parents and teachers respectively must first be what they want students to be. They should not preach water and drink wine. There are four cardinal virtues which were formulated by Plato the Greek Philosopher that are associated with Human formation and which should be practiced both at home and school by all parents and teachers for the children to copy. These virtues are:
a) Justice- giving to others what is due to them
b) Prudence – good decision making
c) Temperance – self mastery; self control, perseverance
d) Fortitude – courage; and spirit to sojourn on even when things get difficult.
All the other Human virtues e.g. humility, respect for others, honesty, obedience etc develop from the four Cardinal virtues.
Loreto High School is one of the schools which facilitate holistic quality education by living the Mission of a Catholic School. Besides the implementation of academic curriculum the Management ensures that;
a) The students are recognized as school’s clients who deserve the best services that it can afford to offer,
b) Each individual student is treated with respect and understanding befitting a human person and is made the centre around which all activities rotate
c) The virtues are deliberately practiced-by the management and teachers in order to influence students positively.
No school can ever form a student, wholly without the support of the parent: Consequently, the school management will always turn to parents for financial support; we are very grateful for the cooperation of the parents experienced so far in this regard.
The Board of Governors will continue to ensure that the Principal is supported to enable her carry out her duties well for the benefit of the students.
Remember our final goal is to go to heaven and thus actions for each day of OUR LIFE should be to bring us closer to God.