To the glory of God, the maiden edition of Education Week in Uromi Diocese was held from October 22nd to October 25th, 2019 at Lumen Christi International High School, Uromi, with the theme “CATHOLIC SCHOOLS IN UROMI DIOCESE: CHALLENGES FOR CHILD PROTECTION AND HUMAN SEXUALITY.” The Diocesan Education Week was organized by the Education Commission of the Diocese. The purpose was to bring together, Management, Staff, Students and Pupils from all Catholic Schools in Uromi Diocese in order to provide the much needed platform for healthy competition and epistemic interactions among our students and pupils. The programme featured Seminars, intellectual, sporting and socio-cultural activities among students and pupils during the period.
The activities leading to the Education Week itself included a one-day Seminar for Heads of Catholic Schools, Accountants and Bursars on 28th of June, 2019 in the Chancery Hall. At the Seminar, two papers were presented namely: “Budgeting” and “Fundamentals of Financial Management and Accounting Procedures for Effective School Management.” They were presented by Dr Glory Ehichioya of the Department of Accounting, Ambrose Alli University and Prof J.E Idialu respectively.
On the 22nd of October 2019, Staff Training was organized for teachers in Catholic Schools. In all, over 250 teachers from Catholic Primary and Secondary Schools attended the training which took place at Lumen Christi International High School. During the seminar, two papers were delivered namely: “Catholic Ethos as Foundation for Ideal School Leadership” by Rev Fr Dr. Paschal Onwugbenu and “Child Right Protection: An Imperative for Effective School Management in the Contemporary Society” by Rev Sr. Bibiana Dura, DC. In his presentation, Fr Paschal Onwugbenu described “Catholic Ethos” as those Ideals, values, symbols and practices that give meaning and essence to Catholic Educational System and its learning environment as a whole. He further explained that Catholic Educational system has the answer to what the society is lacking thorough her careful impartation of discipline, morals, spirituality and the value of hard work on the lives of the students. On the other Hand, Sr Bibiana Dura DC., who is an expert in Child Right Protection, exposed the various aspects that constitute abuse of the child’s right within the school setting and the various ways it is being perpetrated today. She concluded her lecture by recommending that Child Right Protection Policy be developed, which will be a reference manual for all Catholic Schools across the Diocese. After the questions and answer session, delegates broke into eight groups where particular questions drawn from the lectures were discussed more closely by members of each group who presented their responses to the audience group after group afterwards.
On Wednesday 23rd October, 2019, Students, pupils and Staff delegates arrived Lumen Christi for the main competitive events which began with the Inaugural Mass at 10:00 am. In attendance were delegates from Nine Catholic Primary Schools namely: Ogbidi Learning Center, St Patrick Nursery and Primary School, Ebudin, Holy Innocent Nursery and Primary School, Ugboha, St Jude Nursery and Primary Schools, Eko-Ewu, St Michael Nursery and Primary School, Emu, Irena Nursery and Primary School, Ewatto, St Joseph Nursery and Primary School Ogwa, Ufua Memorial Nursery and Primary School, Uromi and St Mathias Nursery and Primary School, Ewohimi. And Delegates from Seven Catholic Secondary Schools namely: St Mathias Secondary School, Ewohimi, Lumen Christi International High School, Uromi, Irena Secondary School Ewatto, Sacred Heart College, Uromi, St Andrew College, Emu, Ufua Memorial Secondary School, Uromi and Holy Innocent Secondary School, Ugboha.
Also in attendance were Heads of Catholic Primary and Secondary Schools, staff delegates as well as the Chief Inspector of Education, Esan North East, Delegates of the CIE, Esan West, Esan South East and Irrua local Government areas and other invited guests. In his homily, the Bishop of Uromi Diocese, Most Rev Donatus Ogun, OSA emphasized the beauty of Catholic Education and why the students must count themselves lucky to be in Catholic Schools. He encouraged them to continually strive to be the best in all spheres of their educational endaevours. He also emphasized to the students that Catholic education in Uromi Diocese does not just aim at creating them into intellectuals but aims fundamentally at creating them into better human beings.
In his opening address, the Secretary of Education Commission, Uromi Diocese, Rev. Fr. Dr Theophilus Itaman stressed on the importance of healthy competition among students as a way to improve students’ academic performance. He exposed the arguments and opinions of various scholars on the need to discourage intellectual competitions among students, amidst them, he concluded his address that healthy competition makes students to perform better in the process of striving to outdo the challenges before them. He let the students know that the various competitive events lined up for the period were carefully designed to make them also learn while competing. He was emphatic in underlining the fact that any school is capable of pulling up surprise when the competitions commence.
At the end of the Opening Mass, the Inaugural Lecture for Pupils and Students titled: THE IMPACT OF NEW MEDIA ON ADOLESCENT SEXUAL BEHAVIOUR was delivered to pupils and students simultaneously at different venues. That of the pupils was facilitated by the Holy Childhood Association animators in the Diocese led by bro Isaiah Okojie and that of the students was facilitated by the founder of Inspire Youth Network (IYN) Abuja and the Coordinator of the Christian reality TV show “Achievers Platform” Rev. Fr. Victor Ogunyemi. Fr Victor, in his paper, exposed the positive and negative sides of new media and seriously hammered on how much of influence the media is bearing on the sexual behaviour of adolescents today. He noted that the media offers a great opportunity for any serious student to excel through research and educational materials available on the internet. Despite all these, he advised students to beware of the allurements of the media and not to indulge in pornographic sites, sexting, inordinate chats and other forms of aberrations as these can alter their emotional stability. At the end of the sessions, the student delegates broke into smaller groups and discussed more closely, the questions that were drawn from the lectures.
After the Inaugural Lectures, all students and pupils gathered to cheer the Primary School Pupils at their Spelling Bee Competition. It was a very interesting session, after which the Pupils returned home while delegates form secondary schools camped for the remaining days
In the evening of the same day, participating schools rolled out their scientific products for Exhibition. The Science Exhibition was the first competitive activity for secondary schools. Among the scientific innovations on display by various schools were: Flash Light (Holy Innocents, Ugboha) A House (Irena Secondary School Ewatto) a Moving Car (St Mathias Ewohimi), an Estate layout with major housing and medical facilities (Lumen Christi, Uromi) a Solar Drier (Sacred Heart, Uromi) A Mini Electricity Generating Set (Ufua Memorial Group of Schools) and Fount Sound (St Andrew College, Emu). The Judges were selected on purpose, from DonBosco Science Academy. Representatives from each school explained to them the basic scientific principles behind their creation, the materials used and societal benefits to the judges who scored them based on the presentation by each team.
The following day, Mathematics competition, Quiz competition and Essay Writing Competition took place in Junior and Senior categories. In the evening, it was time for psychomotor activities as students delegates filed out for March past and relay race. The relay race was also in Male and Female Categories. After the sporting activities, the students were treated to a sumptuous gala night which featured various eye-catching cultural presentations, talent exhibitions, comedy shows and drama presentations from all participating schools.
On Friday the 25th of October, 2019, the Maiden Education Week came to a close with a closing Mass. In his homily, Fr Jude Otaigbe, the Principal of St Mathias Group of Schools, Ewohimi strongly encouraged the students to be up and doing in their various schools. He encouraged them to go back to their various schools with the positive experiences gained from the Education Week, feeling challenged to do better always. He concluded by encouraging all delegates to pick up a more personal challenge of ensuring that they become the reason for the excellence in their various schools. At the end of the Holy Mass, trophies and gift items were presented to outstanding schools at the competitions.
The Chairman of the Organizing Committee, Fr Kelvin Ibhaze, thanked God for the challenges and successes of this maiden Edition and expressed hope that the experiences of this first edition will make way for improved programmes in the future. He thanked the Bishop who sacrificed a whole lot in order to celebrate the opening Mass for us and also thanked the Management and Staff of Lumen Christi High School for providing the venue and helping out in key areas. He thanked all school heads for their cooperation in preparing and mobilizing their students for the programme. He thanked the delegates of staff, students and pupils, the Management of Zenith Bank Plc Uromi and all who gave their kind support.
By Sr Fidelma Akata