Jennie Bickmore Brand has been training teachers in worldview integration. The two day seminar saw more than 50 educationists appreciate the need to embed and embrace a rigorous biblical worldview in their teaching practice. Dr Bickmore Brand and Dr Stephen Codrington are working with the Association of Christian Schools International to expand the availability of quality, biblically-inspired teacher training and continuous professional learning.
On Thursday 17th May, Alphacrucis College was honoured to welcome Mr Samuel Davis Hiire, Director of the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) in Uganda. Mr Hiire was accompanied by Ms Sue Skuthorpe, CEO of New Hope International.
ASCI has 170 affiliated schools in Uganda, a country where 90% of the population are committed Christians who attend church regularly. Although relatively small by African standards, Uganda is about the same size as the United Kingdom. Within its 241,000 square kilometres, 42 million people live, of whom 48% are aged 14 and under.
This situation poses immense challenges for educators in Uganda. The current educational situation in the country has been described as ‘dysfunctional’, largely because of short-sightedness in planning, weak infrastructure, poor governance and the lack of challenging training provided to teachers.
During his visit to Alphacrucis’ Parramatta campus, Mr Hiire met with three senior members of the Faculty of Education, Arts and Social Science: Professor Mark Hutchinson (Dean), Dr David Hastie (Associate Dean) and Dr Stephen Codrington (Director of School Governance and Leadership Development).
The meeting represented a fascinating exchange of ideas, knowledge and insights as the challenges of Christian Education in our two continents were discussed.
Associate Dean of Education, David Hastie, reports on working with Austrade in Indonesia, where there is a remarkable work among Christian schooling organisations.
To read more, see: http://www.cfs.ac/cfs-newsletter/ac-and-austrade-meet-in-jakarta
Dr Stephen Codrington, who joined Alphacrucis’ Parramatta campus in January this year, is undertaking several overseas fieldwork research trips this year to collect material for use in six new Geography courses being developed for our new BEd(S) degree, and to update ten books he released in 2017 to support the new International Baccalaureate Geography syllabus.
In late March and early April, Stephen spent nine days in Bhutan, the tiny nation sitting between India and China that is the last kingdom in the Himalayas. Stephen’s research was focussed on two specific areas – the country’s distinctive approach to sustainable tourism, and its unique concept of Gross National Happiness (GNH).
Initially developed by the fourth King of Bhutan, Jingme Singye Wangchuk, GNH was designed to be a measurable alternative to other indicators such as Gross National Product (GNP), replacing the traditional emphasis on material values with a focus on values, morals and human welfare.
It is wonderful to see what is being achieved in Christian education around the world. On a recent trip to Indonesia, CFS staff Professor Mark Hutchinson and Dr David Hastie visited a number of theological colleges and universities in the Christian tradition.
“It is amazing to see what Indonesian Christians are doing through school education”, noted Dr Hastie. “The Pelita Harapan Foundation’s model of developing sustainable Christian schooling cultures is astounding in terms of the promise it has for Indonesia’s development.”
Imagine a group of high level international grammar schools which exist to support a group of middle ranking schools, which in turn exist to help resource and extend schools for the poor in some very remote places of this vast archipelago. It is a bracing vision, which sees Christian teachers serving all levels of society in an entirely authentic, local way.
“We in Australia can learn a lot from this sense of strategic educational vocation”, noted Professor Hutchinson. “Imagine Christian schools working together to deliberately extend ‘educational lift’ through regional Australia in a systematic way. As an historian, there are great parallels to this in the medieval and early modern period, but the Teachers College at UPH bleeds a daily commitment to the good of their people which is hard to match in contemporary times.”
In addition to this, Professor Hutchinson and Dr Hastie visited STT Intheos Surakarta and SBBTI Jakarta, which have similar (if smaller) approaches to combining pastoral and teacher training. Founded by an AC graduate, Pontus Pardede, to walk around the STT Intheos campus is to be reminded of the tremendous work done by Australians and our friends in the region. Invited to speak at a Student Camp some 90 minutes away from the main campus, the joy and enthusiasm of young Indonesian initial teacher trainees was infectious, and well worth supporting.
“We would love to see greater interaction between Indonesian and Australian Christian schools,” noted Dr Hastie. “Teaching occurs in communities of practice. We could learn a great deal from each other in terms of our common calling under God for the formation and training of the young. To meet the Rector of Universitas Pelita Harapan, Jonathan Limbong Parapak, and realize the continuing impact of a program such as the Colombo Plan for Indonesians, is to stretch towards what might be possible if there were a Christian program with similar aims.”
The Centre for the Future of Schooling will be seeking to develop student and staff exchanges, and pathways programs, with Indonesian colleges and schools. If you are interested, please contact the Centre: firstname.lastname@example.org.
CFS staff are committed to bringing excellence, mobility and impact to Christian schools and communities around the globe. In her recent teaching and training tour in Africa, the co-Director of the Centre, Dr Jennie Bickmore-Brand spent time in Schools and associations in Uganda, South Africa and Zambia. Her activities included seminars and planning meetings at the Kagala Vocational Training Institute, Uganda, where there is a developing Lifelong Learning Centre prototype. As in other places, implementation requires a vertically integrated approach to developing intellectual and social capital. In short, in order to develop programs at VET level, one also needs to be developing pathways through degrees and future teaching staff at higher degree level. A development model involving microfinance and community transformation is in its design phase. Another school she visited was Goshen school northwest of Kampala, a school supported by the CRANE project in the USA. The transfer of book-making projects from Dr Bickmore Brand’s other work in PNG is an example of how development-oriented schools projects can enrich educational outcomes in networks that stretch around the globe.
Time spent at the Association for Christian Schools International (Africa) conference in Johannesburg led to discussions which resulted in exciting discussions about the possibility of empowering the work of Christian schools in South Africa. Development is ongoing.
If you are interested in connecting to opportunities for donating to or participating in the growth of Christian schools in Africa, do contact us!
Dr. Jennie Bickmore Brand
Co-Director, Centre for the Future of Schooling