Although each and every student is brought up in a different background, students whose parents and teachers groom them spirituality perform well at school and later in life.
Lillian Mbabazi, a teacher at Little Angels in Kicukiro, Kigali, who doubles as a Sunday school teacher believes that parents need to have an active and lead role in the spiritual lives of their children.
She says laying a spiritual foundation means teaching and training children about God and His love for us.
“When they are brought out this way, it’s easier for such students to excel in their lives, more importantly in education. This is because it shapes their overall moral fiber,” she says.
Mbabazi notes that spiritual values such as love, compassion, patience, forgiveness, which play a big role in our future success is best learnt through these childhood spiritual engagements.
According to Jerome Ndagijimana, the head teacher at SOS Technical Secondary School in KInyinya, a spiritual foundation should be part of education in schools to allow students grow up in an upright manner.
“Most students might be intellingent, but when it comes to social issues, they are not in position to compete well. Spiritual matters should be able to match with the education they get, which will ensure holistic success,” he says.
Ndagijimana adds that if a student understands spiritual matters, it improves their behaviour in general which is the key to education success.
He advises that schools should provide time for their students to be instilled with these values.
For Edmond Musafiri, a teacher at Mubano High School in Remera, Kigali, schools should allow their students to practice their distinctive faiths.
Quoting the bible verse which says, ‘train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it’, Musafiri says religious and spiritual matters go hand in hand with what is expected of the learner in future.
“We should help our students understand that education for life is an entirely different thing. Education for life is spirituality encompassed in practising values such as love, compassion, patience and forgiveness,” he adds.
On the other hand, Florent Marara, a pastoral leader at New Pentecostal Church in Kimironko, Kigali, is of the view that a spiritual foundation recognises that Jesus died and rose again to provide a way for us to receive forgiveness and eternal life. A firm spiritual foundation acknowledges that God cares and can determine the path a student takes.
“When a student is raised and educated on spiritual matters, they will at least acquire qualities such as self-belief, confidence, perseverance and integrity. All these are the key to success in life, including in academics,” he says.
Marara notes that a school that recognises the importance of spirituality to their students will no doubt excel in other activities.
“Due to different backgrounds the students are raised from, teachers can have a hard time enforcing discipline level. When a student lacks discipline, failing in academics is most likely guaranteed. However, letting students know about how to lead upright lives improves their discipline levels. It also makes them recognize the value of education. This motivates them to work even harder,” he says.
How to instill spiritual values
Diana Nawatti, a counselor and head teacher of Mother Mary Complex School, Kigali, says schools should have different clubs, including the religious ones.
She believes it’s easier for a teacher to instill religious values to students through these clubs.
“When in clubs, it is easier for a teacher to reach out to students on many issues such as spiritual matters as clubs do not discriminate against any one. It is possible to have students from all levels united under one umbrella which gives everyone an opportunity to learn from the other,” she says.
Additionally, Nawatti says being in groups promotes unity and imparts important values like discipline which is one way through which a student can achieve more in academics and outside school.
Felix Kayonga, a teacher at College APPEC REMERA-RUKOMA in Kamonyi District, says teachers should encourage prayers in schools, especially during morning and evening hours.
“This should not be necessarily carried out at school. Encouraging students to pray even at home builds their confidence and belief in God,” he says.
Kayonga emphasizes that it is through prayer and hard work that a learner can achieve better grades and success after school.