February 11, 2013

Global Notebook: Ethiopian Roundtable Concludes

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Representing EduDeo Ministries on the ground in Ethopia and South Sudan, EduDeo Executive Director Hank de Jong joined a number of key Christian educators and church leaders from across Sub-Saharan Africa for the second day of the Ethiopian Roundtable in Adama, Ethiopia.

Joined by Hamilton-based freelance videographer Ryan Geleynse, Hank is an international participant at the Ethiopian Roundtable.  The two-day gathering is a follow-up event following the ACSI Africa Roundtable in South Africa in August 2012.  A partnership between CH Global, ACSI Africa and EduDeo Ministries, the goal of the roundtable is to set the stage for prayer, high level discussion and strategic development to strengthen existing and establish new Christian schools in Ethiopia.

A key leader in the Christian school movement on the continent, Dr. Samson Makhado, Director of the Association of Christian Schools International Africa (ACSI Africa), provided the roundtable attendees with a Biblical framework for integrating the Gospel in the classroom.  The Ethiopian educators were urged to view every lesson in the daily curriculum from the Lordship of Christ.  

Mitiku Abedbe an indigenous ministry leader with international partner CH Global, documented his experience with EduDeo Ministries’ Walking Together program.

“The training not only affects the quality of teaching in the schools, but the spiritual life of the teachers,” Abedbe remarked.

Abedbe noted the teacher training was inspirational in his personal study of the Bible as well as transformative in the way he has come to view his students in the classroom and his calling as a teacher.

“We see children as image bearers of God and we see teaching as a calling from God,” Abedbe commented.

Hank noted Abedbe’s remarks confirmed the importance of the ‘Walking Together’ program:

“It is clear from this conference that the Ethiopian educators are grasping the importance of a Biblically-integrated worldview,” Hank explained.

“The Ethiopian churches and schools have key leaders in place.  Our role at EduDeo Ministries role is to provide the scaffolding for Ethiopia’s growing Christian school movement.  Scaffolding is meant to be removed when a project is compete.  We look forward to the day when Ethiopia’s Christian school community will thrive and EduDeo Ministries’ work is complete.”

The roundtable proceedings concluded, Friday, February 8, with the creation of a seven member committee focused on the development and promotion of Christian education in Ethiopia as well as a list of eight key points:

  • The Ethiopian church needs to realize the importance of education as a means of evangelism/discipleship.
  • The church is a key stakeholder in shaping the moral life of children and the current generation.
  • Education is a means of transformation.
  • The Bible stresses the importance of teaching children at early age.
  • One of the reasons for the moral decline of the current generation is the absence of moral/ethical education in the school system.
  • The church should actively participate in the formulation of a national curriculum through Christian curriculum experts.
  • There is an urgent need for education rooted in a Biblical life and worldview.
  • The church in Ethiopia suffers from a gap in nurturing a new generation of culture.

Hank stressed the importance of worldview and teacher training:

“As we support and equip teachers in Ethiopia, we realize the continued need for teacher training, especially training that integrates the Gospel into every area of life,” Hank noted.

“We also realize the need to continue to support educational roundtables as they move the vision of Christ-centred education forward.  We are grateful for the partnership of ACSI-Africa and CH Global and strongly believe God is glorified in these partnerships.  We are also thankful for our support community who continue to see the value in our ongoing ministry efforts.  Most of all, we praise God from whom all blessings flow. May He receive tremendous glory as a result of the Ethiopian roundtable!”

Hank and Ryan are now visiting schools and school leaders in South Sudan. Stay tuned for more updates to this Global Notebook!

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