A Discussion with Andre Niane, Director of the Center for Pedagogical Training, Mbour, Senegal

With: Andre Niane Berkley Center Profile

July 20, 2015

Background: As part of the Education and Social Justice Project, undergraduate student Sabrina Khan interviewed Andre Niane, who serves as the director of the Center for Pedagogical Training (CFP) in Mbour. In this interview, conducted in July 2015, Niane discusses the function of CFP and its role in the Catholic education system, as well as the reason Muslim parents send their children to Catholic schools.
Why are you interested in teaching, and in particular, primary school education?

It's a long story. I always wanted to serve others, especially in terms of education and children’s development. Primary schools are the basis of education. You need a solid foundation to continue your education well.

What is the importance of a Catholic education for small children?

The importance really comes from the values Catholic teaching seeks to transmit. It is true that what happens in Catholic education does not happen in other schools. Young people are viewed by society in relation to their behavior and the values that they exhibit. This is what makes Catholic education important, because it focuses on values.

What values does Catholic education seek to transmit?

Solidarity, respect for others, and cooperation.

What types of courses are offered at the center for those who want to teach?

First, we have pedagogical classes, which are those on how to teach different disciplines. We also have classes related to the understanding of pedagogical techniques, such as psychology, sociology. We also have catechesis, as well as education in values and ethics. All of these courses are mandatory. There are exceptional cases for Muslims who will not teach catechesis.

What is the greatest challenge facing the center?

The quality of teaching. Teachers must be functional on the ground, but they must also have a very good conception of their work. Another challenge is maintaining financial independence.

In general, what do you think attracts Muslim parents to Catholic schools?

I think that parents have a very good impression of Catholic schools and appreciate them very much. For example, at the l’Ecole d’Application [the primary school located at CFP], Muslim youth outnumber Christians by at least 300 or 400 percent. These students constitute good evidence of the good work we do and the seriousness of our study.

Is there anything you would like to add that we have not discussed?

The Catholic education system is very well appreciated in Senegal because of the seriousness of the system. We do not experience strikes, which waste time. There is a certain regularity. Furthermore, there are good results, despite the little funding that we have. The greatest challenge now is to maintain and keep this excellence.
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