‘Ground courses in Pacific Islands teaching, learning and contexts’ came out strongly when church leaders from various churches within the Institute of Mission and Research’s scope of work sat to review the courses the Institute offers.
The courses are namely, Certificate in Peacebuilding Intensive, Certificate in Social Analysis, Certificate in Leadership and Management, Diploma in Pastoral Counseling, Diploma in Missiology.
Countries that have participated in these courses include Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Fiji, Tuvalu, Kiribati, Solomon Islands, Tonga and West Papua.
The review workshop took place at the Tanoa Skylodge Hotel in Nadi, over a period of four days from March 11-14.
Before reviewing the courses, the church leaders and representatives first spent two days familiarizing with the changed direction of PTC and the concerted effort and mechanisms being put in place to change the story by reconnecting Pacific Islanders with their ecology, rethink development and redesign it from the Pacific Island perspective.
Thought provoking presentations on what the Kingdom of Heaven looked like and where it existed or who built it was shared by Dr Cliff Bird, the workshop facilitator.
The Kingdom of Heaven Dr Bird explained based on the seven parables, was built here on earth, consisted of natural things like the earth, sky , oceans, land, forests, it was built by ordinary farmers and fishermen and isn’t somewhere far off in the sky. The Kingdom of Heaven consists of every day actions. It promotes connections with nature and living in simple companionship with it. A visit to the Tifajek mud pools on the foothills of the Sabeto mountain range, provided the perfect, fun loving connections participants made with nature.
Against this backdrop, the church leaders set about reviewing the courses, in various mixed country groups.
The clear message from them during presentations, ‘ deliver the courses, the Pacific way, with our own Pacific examples, dances, song, weaving, carving, painting the story, telling the story as opposed to the regimented classroom learning that was introduced by the Western culture.’
Other recommendations focused on the the layout of information in the course books, the use of local people (in-country experts), including interactive methodologies like field trips and having more practical exercises as opposed to theory.
All the recommendations for change have been grouped together and called the ‘Reweaving Recommendations,’ to reflect the reweaving of the story of the courses and the changing narrative it must support i.e. Pacific islanders beginning to think about development and even just daily living and existing from the Pacific perspective or decolonize the way we think.
The IMR team will incorporate the recommendations and come up with refurbished courses in the next months.
For more information on the Courses contact Aisake Casimira on Casimira@ptc.ac.fj