Education Should Foster Intellectual, Spiritual Development: SECAM Official to Universities in Africa

SECAM Officials with chaplains of Catholic Universities in Africa. Credit: SECAM

The Secretary General of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) has urged chaplains of Catholic universities in Africa to champion education that fosters both intellectual and spiritual development.

Speaking during a seminar for chaplains of SECAM Catholic universities on June 7, Fr. Rafael Simbine Junior underscored the importance of promoting quality education in Catholic universities in Africa.

“Education should foster both intellectual and spiritual development, shaping moral consciences and instilling human and cultural values ​​illuminated by the Gospel,” Fr. Simbine said during the seminar that was held at the TEC (Tanzania Episcopal Conference) Kurasini Training & Conference Centre in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

He added, “With this seminar, we wish to give back to the Catholic universities in Africa their noble mission to be vibrant communities with the Gospel spirit.”

He called on Catholic institutions of higher learning to be places where students are helped “to blossom in their baptismal newness, weaving human culture with the message of salvation.”


Catholic universities, the SECAM official said, should be “centers where true education seeks the formation of the human person with respect to his ultimate goals and the good of the societies to which he belongs.”  

Making reference to SECAM’s Kampala Document (KD), Fr. Simnbine said, “Catholic educational institutions must be centers for transmitting knowledge imbued with truth, underpinned by a Christian conscience, and guided by the Social Teaching of the Church.”

The member of the Clergy of Mozambique’s Catholic Diocese of Xai-Xai said Catholic educational institutions are tasked with making the Gospel message of Jesus Christ present and advancing in various cultural realms.

“This document tasks the entire educational community with presenting faith as an appealing option, mirroring the humble and supportive example set by Jesus Christ and his disciples,” F. Simbine said at the seminar that was held under the theme  “Promoting the Evangelizing Mission of the Catholic University.”

The SECAM Secretary General said the Vatican II Declaration on Christian Education, Gravissimum Educationis, recognized that “Catholic schools serve diverse cultures and must proclaim the Gospel not just through words but through the exemplary lives of educators.”

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The June 4-7 seminar addressed the increasing secularization of Catholic educational institutions, particularly due to Western influences. 

It was also an opportunity to reinforce the Catholic identity and mission of  Catholic schools and universities in Africa and Madagascar to ensure the educational institutions of the Church remain committed to evangelization and nurturing future generations in the Gospel spirit of freedom and charity.

In small groups, participants answered questions on the topics: Catholic University Identity and Global Challenges, The Role of Chaplains in the Education and Development of a Faithful Community at a Catholic University among others.

Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.