From the 27th to the 31st of December, 2017 the Formators from all our 8 Formation Centres around the world converged at our Second Cycle Formation House, Pune, India to attend what is referred to as the Global Fomators Meeting.
This meeting is held once every two years and is attended by the member of the General Council in charge of Formation, Andrew Mukulu, who was this year joined by the Councillor for Asia Jimmy Lindero. To it are also invited the Vocation Directors and Mission Experience Programme Coordinators of the hosting country.
This meeting is a very important one on the Formation calendar as it is a forum at which all the formators from the different formation centres present reports on the formation activities and life of their respective Formation Centres. They also share about their challenges and together discuss possible solutions. This results in the formulation and recommendation of policies that fit our times.
In view of the fact that all our Formation Centres are interlinked in terms of the progressive stages of formation, it is very important to meet and reflect on how best to harmonise different procedures, since the procedures in one centre have implications for others centres. For example a student in first Cycle in Uganda, on completion proceeds to Nairobi, Kenya or Pune, India for the second Cycle, or goes Mission Experience first before proceeding to the Second Cycle. Hence the respective houses have to be on the same page as regards policy.
This year some of the issues foremost in the minds of the delegates where:
The new intake requirements for tertiary education as demanded by the Kenyan Government. The Government of Kenya now demands that for anybody to be admitted to a university institution in the country, one must have completed certain specific subjects at high school, otherwise one would not be admitted. They also stipulate that they will only accept online communications directly from the Departments Educations in the respective countries and not copies of certificates from individual students.
This policy came into effect this year and has had some adverse implications particularly for students who are already with us, in that most of them passed their secondary school studies, but did not do the specific subjects required. Hence the need to discuss the matter at our meeting. Considerable time was also spent discussing the visa requirements of entry into India that is making it very difficult to send students into our second Cycle in Pune.
Some of the other matters that formed part of the discussions where, issues regarding the achieving of balance between academic formation and the other even more important pillars of formation such as spiritual, personal, and pastoral formation. Equally, there we also reflected and shared on the whole process of discernment.
During these meetings, it’s not only the formal discussions that matter, but the informal discussions outside of the meeting are also an opportunity for members to share how to go about formation work. Members who attend these meetings always express how at the end of the forum they go away highly enriched by the experience.
At the end of the meeting this year it was happily discovered that despite the usual teething challenges, our Formation Programme is growing in strength each day, something that is worth rejoicing and thanking God for.
Andrew Mukulu MHM
Councillor for Africa, and in Charge of Formation