Education – August 2019
(By Lilian Schmid, reviewed by Dr. John Yates, Bill Muehlenberg and Bjorn Schmid)
Education aims at the formation of the human person in the pursuit of their goals and for the good of their society of which, as human, they are a member, and in whose obligations, as an adult, they will share.
To achieve this, children and young people must be helped, with the aid of advances in psychology and the arts and science of teaching, to develop harmoniously their physical, moral and intellectual endowments so that they may progressively acquire a mature sense of responsibility to strive to form their own lives properly and surmount the challenges of life with courage and constancy.
People should also be trained to take their part in social life, properly instructed in so-called ‘life skills’ so they will become actively involved in various community organisations, open to discourse with others and willing to do their best to promote the common good.
Knowledge of course without an ethical framework does not guide or enable people to be ‘better’ to others. There are many ethical frameworks that seek or propose the good of others as equal to self, but only the framework built on God Almighty who provided the ultimate example of self-sacrifice in Christ’s death and resurrection for our redemption, is capable of guiding all people towards genuine love and respect for each other.
“Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. What kind of house will you build for me? says the Lord. Or where will my resting place be?” [Acts 7:49 fr. Isaiah 66:1]
At times throughout history, both the state (secular) and the church (religious) have claimed responsibility for the role of educating children. Yet the responsibility of educating children is a task God has given to parents: parents have direct authority over their children, and parents are commanded to teach their children the ways of the Lord.
“These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” [Deuteronomy 6:6-7]
Notwithstanding, all people of every race, condition and age should enjoy the dignity of a human being, and have the right to an education that assists and encourages aspire and achieve goals that will benefit themselves, their families and society. Governments and churches should strive to ensure that Education available to all people is a priority and it is appropriately funded and delivered.
Education is required at two levels:
- Primary and Secondary school Education for children (and for adults who have an incomplete basic Education) in order to provide a foundation for transition into adult life and responsibilities; i.e. self-support and support for their families, adherence to laws, voting, and so on. Completion of Secondary Education is usually required for skilled work, and for entry into Tertiary Education.
- Tertiary Education for young and mature adults to learn skills and qualification to work in a trade or profession of their choice, or to earn a better income or status in society.
Challenges in Education
There are many challenges preventing children and adults from receiving access to sufficient Education in many countries across the world.
These are some of them:
- Out-of-school children
- Poor enrolments (e.g. due to cultural or financial or health issues)
- Child labour
- Refugees and forced migration
- Countries affected by economic fragility and conflict
- Disabilities, health issues and poverty
- Domestic finances
- Domestic fragility or instability
- Lack of early childhood care and education
- Poor economic development and Education planning
- Environment and geographic problems
- Gender dilemma
- Control/limitations on grants for Education in poor countries
- Economic or racial inequality
- Learning and literacy standards
- Official language vs traditional languages or ‘Mother tongue’
- Under-resourced Teachers and Facilities
- Technology race
“Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” [Deuteronomy 11:18-19]
“The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.” [Psalm 34:7]
“Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these'” [Matthew 19:14]
For those who wish to pray into the Department of Education in Australia, a summary can download a summary here (PDF document).
Lord, we need Honesty, Integrity, Honour, Righteousness, Rule of Law, Unity, and the love of Jesus Christ in our nation’s Education. Because where there is righteousness, God exalts a nation. Where there is unity, God commands a blessing. (Proverbs 14:34)
We thank You Father for Your love and presence at (speak the name of the school or institution). Thank You for Your provision: for our teachers, administrators, home school instructors, office staff, coaches, bus drivers, counselors, psychologists, social workers, case workers, school staff and volunteers, community partners, school board members. We thank You, Lord, for safety and protection for every person in (speak the name of the school or institution). Thank You for blessing our community with Your peace. We, humbly come before Your throne of grace asking you to bless everyone and everything. You are awesome Lord, We sing praises to You, our Father, and declare aloud that You are the King over all of the earth!
Almighty Father, we decree that You are the Light and Salvation of the entire Education sphere in every nation. You are the fortress of education, protecting everyone involved in this sphere from danger, from bullying, from control, from ungodly thoughts, from the evil one.
In Jesus’ Name, we rebuke every spirit of fear, intimidation, murder, theft, vandalism, violence, bullying, destruction, discord and perversion. We confess the following promises of God upon the entire Education sphere. Holy Spirit, give us courage and help us as Christians, to share Christ with the unsaved in all schools and institutions. Use Christians wherever they are to witness to the truth to also bring holiness and blessing into the entire Education sphere.
A Declaration of Peace and Protection at Our Schools
If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”
and you make the Most High your dwelling,
no harm will overtake you,
no disaster will come near your tent.
For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;
they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
Please also pray for these sectors in schools, colleges and universities:
- Public/Government education and funding
- Independent/Alternative education and funding
- Church/Religious education and funding
- Boarding dormitories and houses
- Scholarship awards, systems and trusts
- Initiatives to create/maintain freedom of choice in Education
- Initiatives to reduce bullying/harassment/discrimination in Education
- Religious/Scripture Education