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Background of the Study
Individual successes in life and national destinies in these modern days are increasingly linked to the quality of educational experiences one acquires in life. Education in its proper contest encompasses spiritual, emotional and physical development that learning within the confine of classroom cannot satisfy in totality (Andrew, 2014).
Various definitions of the role of school chaplaincy are in circulation. Some suggest that school chaplains should only take on matters of a “spiritual” nature, while others extend the role to include activities that are traditionally the domain of a school counsellor or student welfare coordinator. The National School Chaplaincy Association asserts that “school chaplains are in the prevention and rescue business. They’re helping students find a better way to deal with issues ranging from family breakdown and loneliness to drug abuse, depression and suicide. They provide a listening ear and a caring presence for kids in crisis… and those who just need a friend. All have a passion to improve the lives of young people” (Philips, 2013).
The issue of Chaplaincy Service in our Universities and other educational institutions is so crucial and yet, it does not seem that much attention is played to it (Kukah, 2013). The Chaplaincy Service supports students, their families and staff of all beliefs and does not seek to impose any beliefs or persuade an individual towards a particular set of beliefs (eviudalec.act.edu). The support provided by chaplaincy service to the school community is in the form of spiritual, ethical and personal, regardless of one’s religious beliefs (tingalpass.eq.edu).
Bragauza, (2017) states that statistics show that if a student feels a sense of belonging and is listened to, or has a spiritual practice like prayer or medication that student will be more resilient to trauma or stress. In a related development, the Most Reverend Mathew Kukah, (2013) asserts that if Universities and other educational institutions make chaplaincies a vital part of their lives, they will realize sooner than later that the spirituality of the environment will be well coordinated and most of the cancerous and debilitating effects of moral decadence will be substantially contained. Kukah, continued that the Universities and other educational institutions will sooner than later become a home away from home, a place where parents can be sure that their children are offered the right measure of morality to inoculate them against academic fraud.
Henceforth, the researcher feels that since the importance of chaplaincy service is enormous in the development of the school communities and the nation at large, it should not be neglected but rather be accepted, implemented and sustained in all educational institutions including Colleges of Health Technologies, as a co-curricular activity.
Gyanunlimited (2013) defines co-curricular activities as the activities sponsored or organized by a school or college which are not part of academic curriculum but are acknowledged to be an essential part of life of an educational institution. The researcher has observed that developed nations such as United States, Australia, Scotland, just to mention a few, have accepted, implemented and sustained chaplaincy service as a co-curricular activity in all their schools, colleges and universities.
In Australia, chaplaincy service is implemented in all states schools under the National School Chaplaincy Programme and is funded by the government from her budget (Hurst, 2014). Similarly, chaplaincy service is implemented in Scotland and the chaplains who are non-denominational acts as link between the school community and society (Blogsport, 2016).
In the United States, NACUC Mission, (2014) explained that chaplains are appointed by higher educational institutions, and they are working directly for the institutions, and sometimes as representatives of separate organizations that specifically work to support students. NACUC Mission further asserts that the National Association of College and University Chaplains (NACUS) works to support the effort of these chaplains, helping them minister to the individual faith of students, faculty and staff while promoting inter-religious understanding. The question now is, if chaplaincy works well for other countries why not Nigeria?
It could be recur that chaplaincy practice came to the shores of Nigeria through the Royal British Army where Chaplaincy Practice and Chaplains became known, but restricted to the Military Formations (Blogsport.com, 2016). Blogsport.com further stated that priests were seconded to the military to act and serve as chaplains in the military formations without any chaplaincy training other than theological training, they had received from seminaries. Many of the priests however were constricted into the military and those that were not, served as civilian priests in the military.
According to Blogsport (2016), the idea of chaplaincy devoid of military colour and glamour was started in the year 2005 AD in Lagos, in a four day National Summit of Chaplains and Pastoral Counsellors and care givers, organized by Archbishop Prof. Mike David. This struggle finally gave birth to the fellowship of civil chaplain of Nigerian in July, 2012 AD and this then marks the beginning of a new era in chaplaincy practice in Nigeria which aim at developing the profession and at the same time contributing to the general development of the country (Blogsport, 2016).
From the above development, Kukah (2013) then posits that “if vision 2020 is to be a reality, chaplains must also play their part. If Nigeria will attain the MDGs set – goals for 2015AD, Chaplains must play their part”. While agreeing with Kukah over the role of chaplains in national development, the researcher calls for the chaplaincy service in all schools and colleges in Nigeria where chaplains will be allowed to function optimally.
It should be understood of this juncture that though originally, the word chaplain referred to representative of the Christian faith, it is now also applied to people of other religions or Philosophical traditions (Legood, 1999). Norman, (2004) explained that in recent times, many lay people have received professional training in chaplaincy and are now appointed as chaplains in schools, hospitals, companies, universities, prisons, and elsewhere to work alongside, or instead of, official members of the Clergy. Blogsport also concur that the concept of multipath, secular, generic and/or humanist chaplaincy are also gaining support, particularly within the healthcare and educational settings.
The importance of chaplaincy service to the school community and the nation should never be under estimated. Moreover, a comment by the Inspection Team of Community Health Practitioners Registration Board of Nigeria (CHPRBN) who were on an inspection visit to Tidoo College of Health Technology (TCHT), Adikpo in March, 2017 is the stronger factor for this work. The team after hearing a sermon delivered by the researcher during their visit was so delighted and commented that “With the prevalence of moral decadence in our society coupled with many life challenging situations today, there is a high need for chaplaincy service in all health training institutions in Nigeria”. The Team further asserts that “such services offered by men of God will go a long way to providing support to the teaching and learning process, reduce immorality and equip all members of the school community with the comfort of mind to perform their duties effectively”.
Therefore, it is against this background that the researcher seeks to find out how chaplaincy service would be successfully implemented and sustained as a co-curricular activity in all Colleges of Health Technologies in Benue State, and even beyond.
Statement of the Problem
There has been steady increase of moral decadence among students such as boy-girl relationship, abortion, drugs and substance abuse as well as cases of pregnancies in higher institutions like Colleges of Health Technology. They occur even in school that have chaplaincy programme in place. Therefore, this unwarranted situation implores the question as to why there has not been intended behaviour change among students even though there have been school chaplains in Church sponsored Colleges of Health Technology? Many students, parents and others consider that the academic curriculum is much more important and should be given more status in schools and colleges than the co-curriculum. According to them, educational institutes are only meant to deliver education and awarding recognized qualifications. They also view higher education of a greater importance than the co-curricular when being selected by employers.
There is also a view based on logic that there is more need for super talented individuals and as such institutes should make specialized individuals in their selected fields. Most modern careers require expert knowledge and skills, which can take years to acquire. Co-curricular activities distract students from developing skills in whatever selected field they have chosen to specialise in. According to them, a doctor or an engineer is known for his or her worth in the job he or she performs rather than being an all rounder. Therefore they do not require such skills as part of their formal education.
Many co-curricular activities require great expenditure. These require more staff to organise and manage such events. This expenditure is added to the fees of the students which becomes an eyesore for those who are not wealthy enough to afford. High profile institutes deprive deserving students just because they are putting an indirect extra cost which sadly, discourages less wealthy families. Some believe that co-curricular activities can be pursued even after completing academic education. There is no need to compromise academic education by over-emphasis on non-academic activities, when most professions still provide a range of career opportunities. For example, if someone is fond of cultural activities he can pursue these when he / she has achieved the preferred academic goal.
Often co-curricular activities offered by schools are duplicated to those that are already available in the wider community. For example, a school cricket team may deprive the local town’s cricket club of young players, while school adventure activities might weaken NCC or NSS activities. So a strong co-curriculum may have the effect of killing off lots of worthwhile community based activities because they do not receive school credit.
There is also a concern amongst some that co-curricular activities are already available in abundance outside the school curriculum in the form of clubs, teams, societies etc. So if these are available there is no need to spend money and time in pursuing these activities in educational institutes. One can also switch career in accordance with his or her interest through evening classes and continuing education programmes which can retrain them.
Many activities are repetitive and are very common. They are observed as a casual affair or as a formality. Therefore these offer no excitement on the part of the students as they are not interesting enough. It was on this basis that the researcher carried out in-depth investigation to find out an appraisal of Chaplaincy services as a co-curricular activity in Colleges of Health Technology in Benue State.
The researcher has observed that though chaplaincy has lot of benefits for the school community and the nation at large, and that many well meaning people have call for chaplaincy services in all educational institutions in Nigeria, only few Colleges of Health Technologies Benue State have chaplaincy service.
Therefore, this work seeks to assess the level of knowledge about Chaplaincy in Colleges of Health Technology in Benue State; find out factors military against the chaplaincy service in Colleges of Health Technologies as well as determine the strategies by which chaplaincy service would be sustained in College of Health Technology in Benue State and beyond. Thus, the topic “Appraisal of chaplaincy services as a co-curricular activity in Colleges of Health Technology in Benue State.
Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study is to investigate the Appraisal of chaplaincy services as a co-curricular activity in Colleges of Health Technology in Benue State. Specifically, the study intends to:
i. Ascertain in the availability of chaplaincy service as a co-curricular activity
in Colleges of Health Technology in Benue State.
ii. Determine the factors militating against the chaplaincy service as a
co-curricular activity in College of Health Technology in Benue State.
iii. Identify the strategies to enhance the chaplaincy service as a co-curricular activity in Colleges of Health Technology in Benue State.
Significance of the Study
The researcher hopes that the result of this work shall be of great benefit to students in Colleges of Health Technology, the teachers/staffs, school mangers, parents of the students, the community and the government.
To the students, this work will enlighten them about chaplaincy service and they will willingly accept and access them. This will in turn help them to concentrate on their studies and reframe from all forms of moral vices on campuses of Colleges of Health Technology.
Teachers/staffs too will be able to understand, accept and access chaplaincy service after making use of this work. This will lead to enhance performance of their various academic/non academic duties.
For the school managers, the work will help them understand the benefit of chaplaincy and ensure its implementation as well as sustenance as a co-curricular activity. Thus leading to efficient and effective use of the school resources.
To the parents of students, the work will enlighten them about chaplaincy service. This will in turn enable them to have confidence about the well-being of their children on campuses.
The community and society at large will be encouraged to ensure the implementation of chaplaincy service as a co-curricular activity in Colleges of Health Technology. Thus, the benefit of having a well co-ordinated spiritual environment where most of the cancerous and debilitating effects of moral decadence will be substantially contained.
To the government (Local, State and Federal), the work will encourage them to make good policies especially that which will promote chaplaincy service in all academic environment. This will lead to secure and conducive learning environment and will enable them go a long way to enhance national development.
The data generated by this study will also help other researchers who may want to carry out further research work on this subject or topic.
The following research questions were posed to guide the study:
i. What is the level of knowledge on chaplaincy service as a co-curricular activity in
Colleges of Health Technology in Benue State?
ii. What are the factors militating against the chaplaincy service as a co-curricular
activity in College of Health Technology in Benue State?
iii. What strategies could be adopted to enhance chaplaincy services as a
co-curricular activity in Colleges of Health Technology in Benue State?
Scope of the Study
This work focuses on the Appraisal of chaplaincy services as a co-curricular activity in Colleges of Health Technology in Benue Staten. Though there are many Colleges of Health Technology in Benue State (accredited and non-accredited), this work is limited to only the accredited Colleges of Health Technologies in the State.
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