Rebuild Tonga’s Catholic primary schools

Cardinal Mafi - restore Tonga's Catholic primary schools

Tonga’s Cardinal Mafi wants to rebuild the island’s Catholic primary school system.

He says reviving the system would require a lot of money.

The church is not financially prepared for the task.

August last year marked 150 years since Fr Lamaze established St Stanislaus College and a primary school at ‘Ahopanilolo in 1865.

From 1865 to 1914 the church established primary schools and colleges.

In the second 50 years from 1864 to 1914, more schools opened in villages and outer islands.

The most important event in that period was the inclusion of the New Zealand education syllabus in the island’s Catholic education system.

But the third 50 years began with the closure of schools and the return of children to the government education system.

System review

Cardinal Mafi says the professionals from the Australian Catholic University in Sydney reviewed the Church’s educational system on the island in 2013-2014.

He says that review was part of the attempt to get the true picture of the status of Catholic Education.

It was to set up a foundation for the future.

He says Vatican II’s Declaration on Christian Education, ‘Gravissimum Educationis’, laid out the church’s stance on academic education.

It based its centrepiece on the dignity of men and woman and their godly rights as creations of God.

Hence the Church’s aim to educate the whole person and not in just an academic way.

Cardinal Mafi says that’s why it puts greater emphasis on technical education today.

He says he values the importance of fostering children while they are young.

He says the Church’s education aims in Tonga are to make sure it is “heavenly” and “eternal.”


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News category: Asia Pacific.

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