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.