The contribution of the Catholic Church to the development of education particularly in the Ashanti Region of Ghana

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Since the introduction of formal education in the Gold Coast (now Ghana) in 1843, Religious Education has undergone enormous changes as a result of educational policy initiatives introduced by governments. This paper provides a historical and content analysis of the effects of Catholic Education in Ghana. It examines the nature of Education in the Gold Coast / Ghana during the Colonial period (1850-1950), the Nationalist period (1951-1966), the era of Military Regimes (1966-1992) and the era of Democratic Regimes (1993-2013). Missionary involvement in education in the then Gold Coast now Ghana, dates as far back as 1828 when the Presbyterian Church started operating schools. These efforts were complemented by the Methodists and the Roman Catholics Ever since then the church has, been at the forefront of education in the present day Ghana. The first chapter comprised the introduction or background of the study, statement of problem, aims and objectives of the study, methodology, literature review and the organization of the study. Chapter two traced the history of Catholic Educational Institutions in the Ashanti Region. Here the vision and mission of Catholic Education were spelt out and deliberated upon. Chapter three discussed the impact of Christian Education by the Catholic Church in Kumasi Archdiocese. The research work outlined the management structure of the Catholic Education in Ghana with special reference to that of the Kumasi Archdiocese. As reiterated above, chapter four discussed the field research and report. All these were to help find out the place of the church in our country, Ghana and the role it plays in the development of Education in Ghana. Chapter five dealt with the summaries, findings and conclusions of all the issues that were raised in the discussions. The study focused on The Contribution of the Church to the Development of Education Particularly in the Ashanti Region of Ghana. The topic was chosen due to fact that the relationship that exists between the government and the heads of the Mission Schools is not the best. The issue of ownership of the Mission Schools has become a bone of contention. There is even a new dimension which has been termed as “partnership in development.” Should the government allow the Churches to run their own schools or must there be a government intervention? The purpose for the research work was to review the impact of the Church in the field of education. Churches are not only interested in just offering formal education to a particular individual but looks beyond to making sure that such a person receives a holistic form of education. The work delved into how best the government and the hierarchy of Churches could bridge their differences for a holistic form of education to the school going person in the country, Ghana. In this research, an attempt was made to inform readers specifically on the role played by the Church in the development of education. The researcher used questionnaires and interviews to solicit for views of the respondents with regard to the presence and role of the Catholic Church in terms of education, tussle between the government and the Church as to the ownership of Mission schools, transfer and mode of selection of teachers and the type of education strategies the Church should adopt as regards both formal and informal education as a tool for national development. Primary and secondary sources of data were used to complement the raw data. The sampling technique employed to identify’ respondents was the purposive sampling method in which the respondents that could appropriately elicit the required information were captured. Certain basic questions came up to help the researcher to find out from the field as regards education being run by the Churches: the nature of Catholic Education, the extent to which Catholic education helped to improve the lives of respondents, whether Churches should own and administer their own schools or must there be Government intervention and what should be the mode of selection or transfer of teachers to schools run by the Churches came up for discussion. Other areas that came up for consideration were whether people with different religious orientation are encouraged to attend schools that are not run by their religious leadership, whether the teaching of Christian or religious doctrines be encouraged in schools run by the Churches and the effects the roles of Parents, Clergy, Religious and Lay Catholic Teachers on the education of pupils and students of schools run by Churches in Ghana. The findings of the study showed a number of important issues. These included the nature of Catholic education, ownership of Mission Schools or Partnership with Government, Mode of selection or transfer of Teachers to Mission Schools, Christian or Religious and Moral Education and Collaboration between the Church and family in education. The study offered a number of useful suggestions and recommendations and concluded that the government should recognize the great efforts of the Churches in the provision of education at all levels and to encourage them to do more.
A thesis submitted to the Department of Religious Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology Kumasi in partial fulfilment of the requirement for the degree of Master of Philosophy, 2013