The Young Academics – a group of 24 vibrant, bright, young Fijians – launched their learning canoe this morning.
A learning journey that will take them from ignorance to critical thinkers of developments that unfold within their villages, communities, and at the national level.
The training they receive, through the ‘Youth Changing the Story of Development Programme’ coordinated by the Pacific Theological College’s Institute for Mission and Research will equip them with skills to critically analyse national development priorities, policies and projects.
This they can do with a better understanding of development and its social and environmental implications.
With understanding comes critical thinking and an awareness of what they perceive to be good development.
The training thus also equips these young persons the skills with which to articulate their own (and community/village) development indicators, as measures of their development and progress.
Indicators they negotiate and craft as relevent to them and not one that is defined by external parties.
The Young Academics Programme, is a two year programme that will involve alternate sessions of training in social analysis, reframing development, reframing communications and community practice.
PTC’s Dean of Studies Rev. Dr. Gwayaweng Kiki who opened the training said it aligns with the biblical words of John 10:10 ‘….I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.’
Rev. Dr. Kiki said this biblical text envisaged fullness of life, wellbeing and wholeness.
He said Christians are called upon to make people aware, to raise the consciousness of people, so people do not surrender freedom of decisions and choices for the sake of service and power.
The Young Academics are from 14 villages in about six provinces in Fiji.