So this month I say, “Enough of the musings about what the Bible says about education, let’s roll up the sleeves and start educating!”
Of course our schools in Ghana and the DR are in full-swing with the academic year that began in September (schools in Rwanda, though just started their “summer” break!). I visited schools in Ghana in mid-October and continued to be humbled by the commitment and passion of the school proprietors with whom we are partnering. Thank God that we are working with these folks and that we don’t have to rely on our own effort and knowledge of what’s happening in classroom. For example, here’s a story:
I visited Help Child Academy in Kasoa, Ghana to administer a survey that we are using to understand school culture and student/teacher spiritual identity. Unexpectedly, I was asked to address the group of 80+ students that had taken our survey. Fortunately, now after my third trip, I know to always come prepared with a short, inspirational “sermon”. I was ready to compare the rebuilding of the wall around Jerusalem to the idea that getting a good education is what builds a family and a nation. I asked the children if they knew the story of Nehemiah in the Old Testament – pronouncing his name “KNEE-a-MIAH.” All I got from the students was blank stares. From my Ghanaian colleagues, I heard chuckling. I kept repeating the great leader’s name – each time louder and more slowly. “KNEE-a-MIAH!?!?!?!” Gently, my colleague Michael intoned in perfect Ghanaian English, “ne-HA-miah” All the students nodded with understanding. I shook my head and laughed – so much for the inspirational sermon.
But there was an important reminder for me in this gaff: so much of what we can do as an organization is done best when we rely on others to shine. For this reason, I am excited that we have formalized a partnership with Compassion International in Ghana to provide training to teachers in Edify schools in their curriculum for Christian formation. Compassion staff will train teachers in the coming year to use the program in daily morning meeting times, in academic classes and after-school clubs. Compassion staff and trained volunteers will perform follow up visits to encourage and monitor usage of the curriculum. Compassion is doing amazing work in Ghana – through the mechanism of child sponsorship in close partnership with local churches. They are using their program in over 100 churches in Ghana and through our partnership, will see their curriculum impact thousand more children. The best part about this curriculum is that it engages the whole child with interactive and age-appropriate lessons. The curriculum covers spiritual, cognitive, physical and socio-emotional lessons – all from a Christ-centered perspective. We are grateful for the opportunity to work with such a faithful organization like Compassion. More than inspirational sermons, we look forward to equipping teachers with the tools for creating a Gospel-focus in their classrooms.