12 January 2022

Back to School Messge from the Presiding Bishop

Compliments of the season and blessings for 2022.

This week, most of the schools in our Connexion re-opened with much excitement and fanfare after the uncertainty and disruptions caused by Covid-19 over the last couple of years. The fact that most schools are going back to physical learning after the corona induced “stop and go’s” of 2020-202, is an incredible feat and we pray God’s blessings on all the learners, educators, heads of schools, school governing bodies and all those in the education sector.

The first day of school is always a poignant one for many. It is a day of mixed emotions, fear and tears for the little ones starting school for the first time; joy and excitement for those returning to their friends and some trepidation for those for whom it’s the final year of
school and they’ll be future-determining exams at the end of the year. The opening of schools is the culmination of a lot of activity and anxiety for all involved- e.g. finding suitable schools, following registration processes, buying new school uniforms and stationery, ensuring school readiness by educators etc.

The Methodist Church of Southern Africa has always believed in the importance of Education as a God given right for every child and as a key to a better life. In the words of Dr Nelson Mandela:

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”

Living in a world that desperately needs to change for the better- education must be prioritized. We therefore, pray for all the educators in their loco-parentis role; that they perform their duties with the diligence, love and patience they deserve; knowing that they are participating in molding the futures of individual learners and of the nations of our Connexion. We call upon and encourage all parents to play an active role in the education of their children; to take seriously, carving out time to help with homework, enquiring about
school life, friends, activities etc. Every learner needs a support system from a parent, guardian or community in order for them to do well at school. We pray and encourage all the learners to, ‘grab with both hands’ every opportunity granted them to get an education. Yes, some fun must be had, friends made and memories created but this should never be at the expense of learning.

It is sad to acknowledge that there are many challenges that learner’s face all over Southern Africa. These include insecurity, inadequate teaching and learning materials, inadequate sanitation facilities, violence and abuse and vandalism of schools. We call on all the governments, education departments and communities of our Connexion to prioritize making all schools conducive to quality education. We salute many of our children, who, despite all these challenges, defy the odds and reach their educational goals.

As a church we have made Education a mission priority and so are committed to partner with schools in communities where we are present. This is in an effort to ensure that all children, especially those in need, are assisted with all the resources necessary for their education. On Sunday 6 February we will in our Societies, Circuits and Synods commemorate our annual Education Sunday followed by Education Week (7-13 February). May we, during this time and throughout the year, provide solutions to some of the challenges mentioned above.

In line with old adage: “It takes a village to raise a child”, let us all play our part to equip the children of our Connexion with a quality education.

A blessed school year to all.
Rev Purity Malinga
Presiding Bishop