Members of HESA Cohort 2 helping each other during the orientation for Chestnut Hill College in Ghana, 2015.
It is almost a cliché to mention that Catholic population in Africa is on the ascendancy. The Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate in June 2015 Report indicated that out of the global 57% growth in Catholic Population since 1980, African Catholic population has not only increased by 238 percent, but that this growth, is also accompanied by increase in vocation to the priesthood and the Religious Life. Forming these agents of evangelization in Africa spiritually and intellectually, to equip them to be effective evangelizers in various areas of the Catholic apostolate cannot be underestimated. This is especially so for women Religious in Africa, where cultural traditional prejudices over the years did not favour academic formation of the girl-child. Thank God, this has changed in many parts of Africa in recent times. It is within this context, that some of us in Higher Education see the efforts of the African Sisters Education Collaborative (ASEC) especially its branch of Higher Education for Sisters in Africa (HESA) as very commendable.
Some two or three years back, as part of HESA’s programme to expand Higher Education to African Women Religious, entered into a partnership (with a signed Memorandum of Understanding) with the Faculty of Education of the Catholic University College of Ghana, Fiapre. The first batch of women Religious students from across West Africa, especially Ghana and Nigeria did the first year on line with Chesnut College in the US, after which they transferred to the Catholic University College of Ghana, Fiapre, for the on-site programme.
Overview of Beneficiaries Academic Performance
The first batch of students who were advanced to Level 200 have just completed their first on-site academic year with the Catholic University College of Ghana. As Dean of the Faculty of Education of the University College and lecturer of these students, I have the pleasant duty, not only to inform HESA, but also their benefactors, about the over-all performance of these students. Indeed, all of them are above-average students. Many of them have cumulative grades points’ average (CGPA) above 3.00 with the lowest about 2.5 CGPA. Their exposure to the on-line programme at Chestnut is also commendable in that it prepared these students for rigorous academic life in the University. These students are very highly motivated. They like to work very hard to achieve their goals. They are matured. They have the ability to grasp concepts and can undertake independent work without being supervised. I have personally taught them, and I have no doubts at all in my mind as their Dean and lecturer, that if these students continue with the same zeal and enthusiasm, there is no reason why they cannot graduate with success. Indeed, Catholic University College of Ghana, Fiapre, has a graduation history of more women religious students, compared to the other female students, graduate with FIRST CLASS, because the former are generally more determined compared with the latter. Indeed, it is my prayer that more of these beneficiaries of HESA graduate with FIRST CLASS.
Keeping up the Good Work
Based on this, I am sending this write-up to HESA and to their benefactors to encourage them in their good work for Higher Education for African Sisters. This partnership between CHESNUT COLLEGE, and CATHOLIC UNIVESRITY COLLEGE OF GHANA, FIAPRE, is yielding positive results. Indeed, if we have to be honest and call a spade a spade, when one compares the amount of time, energy, resources that the institutional Church (dioceses, men religious congregations, etc.) put in training one priest, compared to women religious, one can see the mismatch. This becomes more challenging for women religious of diocesan origin in Africa. It is about time, that African women religious are empowered, given the necessary capacity-building and the chance to explore their highest academic potential, so that they can continue to put to use their services in our Catholic Schools and institutions of higher learning and hospitals, etc. in Africa. It is on this note that some of us see the work of ASEC and HESA as laudable and needs to be given all the encouragement and the financial support that they need.
The Faculty of Education of the Catholic University College of Ghana, Fiapre, is proud to be part of ASEC and HESA projects. We look forward to having more students from across the length and breadth of Africa from ASEC.
May God bless your efforts. AMEN
Rev. Msgr. Dr. Stephen Ntim
Dean, Faculty of Education
Catholic University College of Ghana, Fiapre