Mission or church–run and administered schools have, since the colonial era, been reputed for churning out respectful, morally–upright and spiritually-sound men and women equipped to meaningfully contribute to the development of their societies.

I remember when I completed my primary education that it was a known fact that I would be send to a Catholic–run mission school, especially so because I—just like every other member of my family—was Catholic.

It was believed then that mission schools were the best institutions to send children to because they would not only furnish students with academic knowledge, but will also equip them with good moral and spiritual values that would last them a lifetime.

I will however contend that a mission school can do is to build on what had already been established. By the time when someone gets to secondary school, the course of their life and future, would already have been laid.

It is the formative years that usually matter. It is for this reason that you often find pupils being expelled from mission schools because they may have engaged in some kind of notoriety that attracts the wrath of the school authorities.

What this implies is that parents— and not an institution like a school— are supposed to be the ones to play the most critical role in shaping the morality of their children, not only through their words, but their actions, too.

The Bible says “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6).

Starting this when the child is well advanced in age, at high school for example, may be too late. In the majority of cases, the damage may already have been done and can often be irreparable. Mission schools may not be particularly equipped to repair that kind of damage.

Interpersonal relationships are often said to have more influence on an individual because man is a social creature. So if a child is at a mission school, they will also need to have relationships with God-fearing people and this will complement whatever the school may establish in them.

These relationships include with siblings, parents and peers. So even if a child is send to a mission school but they come from an ungodly family, and if they hang around unbelievers, even if they desire to manifest Christian behaviour, thus will often be a struggle because of the environment in which they live most of their time.

So even when a child is at a mission school, they need to be taught to have a personal relationship with God. Consequently, whatever values would be imparted to them while at school will find somewhere to stick.