Education to nurture virtue

Dr Martin Warner, Bishop of Chichester
Dr Martin Warner, Bishop of Chichester

It’s been a rather typical English summer.

Rain has lashed the beaches and we’ve put a brave face on outdoor activities that have had a rather soggy ending.
The beginning of the new academic year will be a welcome arrival for parents and pupils alike.
For some, however, September will signal preparations to begin a university course.
It has been very encouraging to read comments from Andrew Adonis that call into question the setting of student fees and the loan scheme.
It surely cannot be right to link academic study to long-term debt.
The present system has been shown to add disadvantage to pupils from poorer areas. The expectation that an outstanding degree will guarantee a lucrative job is a further, corrosive burden for many students.
Colleges that offer academic and vocational courses will also be facing some challenges in the new academic year.
Funding is one of the most obvious, and it is a credit to these institutions that they interact with commercial, social and industrial partners to secure the best they can for their students.
But the colleges cannot alone bear the burden of delivering a fully functioning potential employee.
The manager of an apprentice scheme confided to me recently that nearly half his student apprentices face a disciplinary process at some stage.
Many respond well.
But for some, the transition into a working environment makes demands, like time-keeping and reliability, that they are not capable of meeting because they have not been prepared for doing so.
A question emerges here, and it is this: what is education for?
If we believe that it is the way to secure a good job and income, I fear that we shall do damage to our children by encouraging them to believe that function and possessions are the only ways to assess the worth of a human being.
What I look for is the sort of education that will nurture kindness, respect, generosity and the capacity to stand up for human decency when it is under threat.
These are the results that ultimately matter for building a prosperous and just society.

Faith Matters:

See behind the scenes at Chichester Cathedral

On Saturday 9th September from 1.00pm – 4.00pm visitors are welcome to explore parts of the cathedral that are not usually open to the public. There is free entry and all are welcome. This open day forms part of the Heritage Open Days scheme and includes access to the song school, the Cathedral Library (40 spiral stairs to each) and the private chapel of the Bishop of Chichester. Why not come and enjoy exploring the fascinating heritage of this historic home of worship and faith in Sussex.

Are you a Christian BSL user?

Or do you have any hearing loss, or know those who struggle in church because of deafness? A group from Churches Together in Eastbourne has organised an event on Saturday September 16th from 10am-2.30pm at Victoria Baptist Church in Eastbourne, to explore the issues for Deaf BSL users (adults and children;)church leaders; and those with any hearing loss. Rev Susan Myatt, Baptist Minister, and a Deaf BSL user and Rev G.Behenna, National Deaf Ministry Adviser to the Anglican church, will be our speakers.
We will have workshops, and after DIY lunch, time for questions and feedback.
Further information is available from dmbrett@btinternet.com or www.hellochurch.co.uk