Tuesday 3 March
By Rev Dr Alistair Donald
Scottish missionary Mary Slessor
Christian faith has often been closely linked with education. John Knox's vision was for a school in every parish in Scotland, and education was one of the lasting fruits of the missionary movement of the 19th and 20th centuries. You can read in Mary Slessor's biography that one of the reasons she came to be so loved by the Efik people was that the children in her care would "learn Book", a process sadly now in jeopardy in parts of northern Nigeria where Boko Haram ("education is forbidden") increasingly holds murderous sway.
African schools today – often with very basic classrooms and facilities – may face many challenges, but problems with discipline and motivation are not among them. Indeed boundless enthusiasm is the norm. Education is viewed as very precious, since in so many cases it is only possible because of the very real financial sacrifices made by a parent or other family member to pay for it. In the past, education was seen as being more for boys rather than for girls, but this is now changing. Scotland's universities are host to increasing numbers of young men and women from countries in Africa and elsewhere, eager to complete the education which will open doors to wider horizons and new careers and service.
Yet the opportunities for adult education with which we are increasingly familiar are often not available, and older women of undoubted ability can feel that they have missed their chance. Let's make sure we value what we have, and help those who think they have missed the boat.
- Victory for education campaigners in the Dominican Republic
- Of the Same Flesh: exploring a theology of gender
Elema’s father wouldn’t let her go to school. Now she’s in her 50s, she feels it is too late.
Give 30p for each qualification you’ve taken as an adult.