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Rwanda-Tchad province: Education at the Assumption for a transformation of Chadian society today

R eventWednesday, 08 December 2021

This important question is still with us and remains at the same time a call to us, sisters and laity of the Assumption as well as our collaborators: How can we contextualize Marie Eugénie's thinking on education today? How can we be faithful to the founding spirit expressed in the texts left to us by Marie Eugénie and the first sisters? How can the Assumption today and in our reality bring about the liberation that transforms our society?

For St. Marie Eugenie "the aim of education is to prepare a child for all the duties of life". The sisters and the educational team of the Lycée Collège Notre Dame de l'Assomption (L.C.N.D.A), in Atron II, Chad, in their constant search to respond to this invitation, share with us their educational experiences.

Responding to the call of the local ordinary, Mgr Charles VANDAME, in the year 2000, the Religious of the Assumption arrived in Chad and settled in the district of Atrone II, even before the creation, a few years later, of the parish of Saintes Félicité et Perpétue where the school is located today. It is rooted in the conviction that the education provided through the training of young people at the Lycée Collège Notre Dame de l'Assomption (L.C.N.D.A), can contribute to the transformation of Chadian society as St. Marie Eugenie said.

"... Religious education being a need of the present time, it seemed to us that this new family should devote itself to it and try to bring into it all the new intelligent methods, all the Catholic seeds, all the movement carried out in this direction..." (Advice on Education Vol. 2, p. 3).  (Advice on Education Vol 2, n°161, 1838).

From the beginning, the educational project according to Assumption values was presented to teachers as a tool to achieve the objective of transforming society. At the beginning of this year, the actors of the project: the administrative staff, the teachers, the students, the parents, and other collaborators; with the aim of a continuous formation; we had time to go back to the educational project, to evaluate it, to immerse ourselves again while considering the future:

 

 

I. From 15 to 17 October 2021, the large hall of the LCNDA hosted the training of teachers on the following themes: "Pedagogical planning" and "Ethics in education". A total of 30 lecturers, members of the administration and the Religious of the Assumption took an active part in this training.

Officially opening the training, Sister Aline Emmanuel B. Kertemar, Principal of LCNDA thanked the Lord for his blessings, and thanked each and everyone for their part in the best results obtained in the different exams at the end of the year 2020 - 2021; notably the 100% in the BEF and the BAC all series combined. It was a great joy to have two trainers (Inspector Yambaye Telnodji Delodji and the former National Director of Catholic Education Mr. Koulo BENDJA) come to share their knowledge with the teachers of the Lycée Collège Notre Dame de l'Assomption (L.C.N.D.A). In this climate of joy, the sister headteacher urged the teachers to continue to participate actively in this training and in other activities so that the knowledge acquired would be beneficial to the students throughout the year.

Inspector Yambaye Telnodji Delodji thanked the school for the trust placed in him before defining pedagogic planning as a process of forecasting and rational organisation of available teaching resources. According to him, the relevance of pedagogical planning is in developing the content of what must be done and to organise learning. The inspector situated pedagogical planning at three levels: strategic planning which is the responsibility of the government through the ministry; intermediate planning which concerns the school and finally operational planning which involves the teacher who is responsible for his or her class. Finally, the speaker listed the different planning tools which are: the planning sheet of a module and the planning sheet of a teaching-learning session. The mastery of these tools will allow the teacher to be effective and regularly monitor the conduct of activities in class, he said to the teachers.

On the second day of the training, the former National Director of Catholic Education Dieudonné KOULO BENDJA BELYA spoke to the teachers about ethics in education. For him, the school is an institution whose mission is to provide knowledge, know-how and inter-personal skills. According to Mr. Koulo, this triple mission of the school, which is to teach, educate and train, aims at preparing the young generation to enter the active life and to behave with uprightness in the sense of the set objectives. For him, the various problems faced by Chadian society are linked to the insufficient dissemination of values in schools and families.

The last day of the training was devoted to the reinforcing of the training of some teachers on the culture of peace in schools and some practical orientations for the start of the school year. We are convinced that the values of St. Marie Eugenie imprinted in the students will contribute to the culture of peace, tolerance, collaboration with others, understanding, sensitivity to others, autonomy, initiative...

 

II: ".... that the sisters in charge of the lessons keep to the framework that has been drawn up for them, that they take the trouble to go as far as they can and that, through misguided zeal, they do not go any further. (24 September 1871, on the occasion of the start of the school year).

Monday, September 27, 2021 marked the actual start of the school year; the school had the joy of welcoming 600 students. Two highlights marked the ceremony: the blessing prayer said by Monsignor Alphonse Karamba, chaplain of the school, followed by the welcome and presentation of all the participants present at the ceremony by the head sister. As usual, the students were welcomed in their respective classes by the main teachers who helped them to elaborate their personal projects, the class motto and the golden rules of the class according to their interests, according to what they are enthusiastic about, and especially according to the values advocated by the Lycée Collège Notre Dame Assomption.

 

III: "The instruction here is very thorough, but it is above all the spirit in which it is given that makes our education. I do not at all value this teaching of pure knowledge, I value that which elevates the intelligence, that which imbues it with a character of superiority in intellectual conceptions, in Christian sentiments" Marie Eugénie, in 1848) hence the important place given to prayer. Thus, the activities of the new school year were crowned by the celebration of the Eucharist in the parish of Saints Felicity and Perpetua of Atrone II. Presided over by Bishop Alphonse Karamba, the celebration was attended by students, teachers, parents and friends. The texts chosen for the occasion spoke of work and especially of work well done. In the gospel, we see the compatriots of Jesus astonished by the intelligence and wisdom that he possessed when he taught in the synagogue. Like Jesus, the celebrant exhorted the students and teachers to surprise others with their intelligence and good work. It is worth mentioning that during this mass, the students and teachers presented their projects and work tools which were blessed by the celebrant.

Today, about 1000 women have graduated from the Lycée Collège Notre Dame de l'Assomption (L.C.N.D.A) and work in different sectors of Chadian society: education, medicine, ministries including the Minister of Women and Early Childhood, and the judiciary .... With these mothers of families who continue to provide the education received by their children, we are aware that together we can take decisive action in our small sphere: the living or working environment, the neighbourhood, the town, the region... With the good results at the academic and ethical level, we are convinced that the education provided at L.C.N.D.A. remains a lever of transformation for society and the Chadian family.

 

While entrusting us to your prayers, we thank you.