The Commitment of Protestant schools of Rwanda and DRC Goma and Bukavu in promoting peace education and Protestant values in the Great Lakes Region
The National Office of Protestant Education (BNEP) working within the Protestant Council of Rwanda (CPR) has organized a regional meeting held from April 3 to 6, 2018 at the Guest House of the Scripture Union of Rwanda, located in Kacyiru in Kigali City. The purpose of the meeting was to promote peace education and Protestant values in protestant schools in the Great Lakes region. It brought together different delegation such as: Coordination of schools of the Baptist Community in the Central Africa (CBCA / North Kivu), Coordination of the schools of the Church of Christ in Congo (ECC / South Kivu), Protestant Council of Rwanda (CPR) trough National Office of Protestant Education (BNEP) and a representative of the educational department for the Anglican Church in Burundi, Bujumbura Diocese. The meeting in Kigali brought together more than 90 people (students, schools leaders, teachers as supervisors for students, experts as presenters and administrators from Rwanda and the DRC, as well as the pastor in charge of education who had come from Burundi).
The opening ceremonies of the meeting were marked by the presence of different authorities of the church and the government. In addition to the Protestant education coordinators at ECC / Bukavu, CBCA / Goma and BNEP / Rwanda, these ceremonies were enhanced by the presence of other guests of honor including the President of the CPR and Bishop of the Free Methodist Church in Rwanda (EMLR), Most Rev. Samuel Kayinamura; the Legal Representative of Protestant Education in Rwanda and at the same time President of the Presbyterian Church in Rwanda (EPR), Rev. Dr. Pascal Bataringaya; the Secretary General of the CPR, Rev. Dr. Samuel Rugambage; as well as the Delegate of Rwanda Education Board (REB), Mrs. Emerthe Kabatesi.
Different authorities from churches and the government were present in conference
The central theme of the meeting was always focused on the profile, identity of a Protestant school and education for peace. To this end, the following satellite themes have developed: Education to the principles and values of Protestantism; Peace education; human rights education; Education for managing and safeguarding biodiversity; Peaceful resolution of conflicts; Education to living together, the profile of a Protestant school, etc.
All the participants followed the presentations with enthusiasm and had moments of debate and group discussions. They also had opportunities for relaxation during which students presented dances, poems, skits and other performances related to the cultures of their regions of origin.
Participants, even young children, were excited and much interested.
Students of DRC presenting them cultural talents
As part of the realization of peace education and the promotion of Protestant values, participants in the meeting visited the Kigali Genocide Memorial Center, some parts of Kigali City and planted different kinds of trees in the Christian School of Kigali (ECK).
Tree planting in the Christian School of Kigali and visit of the Kigali Memorial Center
At the closing of the meeting, like the pioneers of the Protestant Reformation such as Martin Luther, John Calvin, Philip Melanchthon, Ulrich Zwingli and others who emphasized the great importance of raising children for the church and for society, the various people who gave speeches for this circumstance all appreciated this approach of educating to peace from schools. The Protestant school is a path to freedom, which is why reformers often remind parents of their duties to send children to school. The Protestant school aims to know how to live and thus contributes to the preparation of good citizens and workers that society needs.
The regional meeting of Kigali follows the other that was held in November 2017 in Bukavu in the Democratic Republic of Congo and precedes the one planned in the city of Goma (DRC) towards the end of this year 2018. All these meetings are organized for the purpose of celebrating 500 years of the Protestant Reformation via Global Pedagogical Network – Joining in Reformation (GPENreformation). We thank the German organization, Bread for the World, for the technical and financial support.
Kigali on May 2018
Pastor Samuel Mutabazi
Director of the National Office of Protestant Education (BNEP) in Rwanda
and member of Council of GPENreformation