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The Educator should be the custodian of society’s conscience

The East African Christian Education Summit (EACES) that started on Sunday 9th, August 2015 was opened by Allen Kagina on behalf of First Lady Mrs. Janet Museveni.

The summit under the theme, “Christian Education in the Age of Bureaucracy” was focusing on the role of Christian institutions in the education of the young people, and how best to partner with governments to deliver a quality product.

In a speech read by Allen Kagina, Janet expressed her gratitude to God for the freedom of worship, religious association and assembly that Ugandans and the continent is enjoying. “This is something we cannot take for granted, becausze there are many areas of the world now where believers are forbidden, by law, to assemble and worship,” Janet said.

Janet challenged summit members on how to guard religious freedom by being, in part, by approaching the relationship with civil government with caution and wisdom. “Our Lord Jesus told us that we must be wise as serpents and gentle as doves. In our dealings with the world, we need that wisdom, because as Christians we straddle two worlds and such an existence generates its own tensions which we must not be open to negotiation or compromise as we deal with the authorities of the world,” Janet said.

In addition to that, she noted that Christians should be guided by the word of God. Therefore, young people should be exposed to the teaching of the Christian faith so as to develop a firm foundation upon which all other knowledge should be built. By saying that, Janet quoted Proverbs 22:6 which says, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it”. She continues to say that such tenet, which encourages character formation, should be non-negotiable in Christian educational institutions. This is because the basic building block in ensuring that a young person will receive a holistic education including spiritual training.

Mrs. Museveni also noted that, if there is no insisting on developing spiritually vibrant individuals, then there is a risk of producing brilliant but amoral rascals, or monsters without a conscience. Therefore, the educator should be the custodian of society’s conscience. This means that Christian educational institutions should be incubators in which faith is developed and matured in the student; the entire atmosphere and environment of the campus should reflect this, with books, music, and any other activities, to encourage the young person’s awareness and appreciation of the spiritual life, giving him/her a head start life. Janet said.

Janet challenged the summit members that, they must aim at producing citizens who are proficient in whatever area of learning they may choose, but must never lose sight of the fact that though Christians are citizens of this world, they are also citizens of God’s kingdom, governed by higher eternal power and expected to live by kingdom principles.

She urged Christian institution to find a way of managing the tensions generated by these contradictions, because a working relationship with government is vital and necessary for the continued existence of such institutions.

The first lady encouraged members to continue trusting God for wisdom to live in this world as his ambassadors, spreading the light of his kingdom and being the salt of the earth, wherever he has placed us. “I believe that, if we are wise, our light will continue to attract many to these institutions. Therefore, we must learn to avoid unnecessary confrontation and conflict with secular power and instead be reconcilers as Christ Himself was” Janet said.

In Attendance, there were 14 countries from over the world. Mr. David Mugawe, Deputy Vice Chancellor Development and External Relations was in attendance and opened the summit on behalf of the university. 

By Ivan Naijuka

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