Kenyan Bishop reacts to suggestions of abolishing Religious Education in schools
The Catholic Church in Kenya says suggestions that teaching Religious Education in schools ought to be abolished are “ludicrous, absurd, ill-thought and in bad taste,” Chairman of the Commission for Education and Religious Education at the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB), Bishop Maurice Muhatia Makumba has said.
Harrison Mumia, president of the association, “Atheists in Kenya,” made the suggestion to abolish religious education on national television this week. Mumia said teaching religious education in schools does not make a society moral.
In reponse, Bishop Makumba has said that Mumia wrongly and deliberately downplays the important role that religious education plays in moulding the values of society. “The Constitution of Kenya states that ‘We the people of Kenya… acknowledge the supremacy of the Almighty God of all creation’ and grants all Kenyans freedom of conscience and belief as well as the right to practice their faith and teach it. It is totally unacceptable for a few individuals to purport to influence curtailing the same rights and freedoms by recommending the scrapping of religious education from our school curriculum,” Bishop Makumba explained.
Bishop Makumba speaking as Chair of the Bishops’ Commission on Education said a school curriculum is an expression of important beliefs, values and aspirations of a society, including religious ones, which must be handed down to the young and posterity.
“For the Catholic Church, faith and holistic quality education are inseparable. It is our considered view that there can be no quality formation of children to become responsible citizens if their education is not anchored on their religious faith. Religious education plays an integral and critical role in preparing learners for adult life, employment and life-long learning while encouraging them to develop their sense of identity and belonging. Religious education enables children to flourish individually within their communities and as citizens in a pluralistic society and global community. The Catholic Church fully supports the continued teaching of religious education in all educational institutions,” Bishop Makumba said.
In conclusion, the Bishop said that withdrawing religious education from the Kenyan school curriculum would be tantamount to rejection of the supremacy and importance of God in the lives of young people and their society. “A society that turns away from God is doomed. We must continue to teach religious education and religious instructions in all our schools,” Bishop Makumba emphasised.
-By Rose Achiego in Nairobi