Established under the mandate to promote, propagate and defend the Kingdom of God through education and training, the Mangochi Diocese Education Commission says it will continue to strive towards high quality education standards in its three catchment districts of Balaka, Machinga and Mangochi respectively.The education commission operates under the vision of providing holistic education that enhances the self – esteem and dignity of the human person in an atmosphere of truth, belonging, care and concern for all while striving to live and witness through quality value based education for all expressed through the Gospel values.
The education policy which earlier received resistance from some quarters in the Diocese is now being reviewed for it to be in conformity with the National Education Policy. The Catholic Education Commission shows the identity of the Church through physical structures and general conduct of teachers and learners alike. Each school is entitled to have a crucifix either in the staff room or indeed in the classroom, Bishop’s portrait or that of the Holy Father as its identity. To enforce the values of the Catholic teachings, each school management committee in the Diocese would be headed by a Catholic and in the absence of one at least someone who can respect the values or principles of the same. According to the National Catholic Education Policy, teachers have to form a Catholic Teachers Association (CTA) to advance the agenda of the Church where all Parish Priests have to call for a meeting with all Catholic teachers on a given Saturday to end up with an election of an executive committee of a CTA.
The Diocese has over 300 primary schools, 24 secondary schools, 3 technical colleges and 34 early childhood development centres and one university run by the Daughters of Mary Immaculate at St. John’s the Baptist.
Meanwhile, the Commission has registered a number of success stories in its pursuit to achieve high quality education standards, indicating that there is now order in terms of communication from the Episcopal Conference of Malawi to Diocesan Commission. The Commission has also been able to collect crucial data for all the schools in the Diocese ranging from names and numbers which will in the end contribute when making certain decisions concerning the establishments.
However, not all efforts aren’t without challenges. The Commission has had a share of its drawbacks whereby some misguided communities want to overtake the Church or an NGO after construction of school structures. Some resistance on the basis of differences in religion, where in some instances other sections of the society thought the Church was forcing people to join Catholicism but that to the contrary it was only asking people to accept that God exists.
So, when everything is said and done, the hallmark of the Commission’s interventions will be witnessed in the launch of St. Timothy Ecumenical Scholarship to assist 40 secondary school students from the two Anglican and Catholic Dioceses who will have intellectual potential but economically poor.