Theological Education

There are several objectives this strategic plan aims to achieve in its lifespan. PTC aims to provide holistic relational learning that is Pacific focused. As a regional and ecumenical institution, the college has an obligation to continually develop ‘quality leadership’ for its stakeholders in the Pacific. This focus area is thus concerned with training potential scholars in a manner that is rooted in the relational epistemologies and approaches of the Pacific context on topics that are sensitive to the needs of our people and beyond. While the theological formation of students through literature is important, the ‘ground up’ call of the College implies moving away from a more traditional approach to theology confined within the church into taking its theologies to the grassroots.

The college aims to strengthen and mainstream decolonisation across its programmes. This agenda is imperative to PTC because of its aim to nurture theological education for leadership of justice and to nurture the voices of independent Pacific scholars in an environment that is not adopted from foreign models but caters to their specific needs. Theological education aims to draw students to decolonising of the Pacific mindset, theologies, the reading of the bible, history, development policies and frameworks, mission statements, etc. In collaboration with the PCC, the College has embarked on a joint mission to rewrite (reright) the narratives that once dominated the ecumenical story of the Pacific through its many initiatives such as the Reweaving the Ecological Mat (REM), the Earth Justice Advocacy (EJA), Pacific Philosophy Conferences (PPC), to name a few. The College aims to incorporate these further in its educational programmes with the intent to get more scholars thinking about development and of creative ways to assist the churches and society as a whole.

On matters of justice and politics, theological education needs to move beyond its traditional disciplinary confines in order to effect change in society. This focus area is part of a wider aim to transform what is taught and how it is taught in the College, but also to produce interdisciplinary works that are useful for Pacific Island students regardless of what degrees they are pursuing. Recently, PTC has collaborated with educational institutions such as USP, Fiji National University, Auckland University, Victoria University of Wellington, as well as many NGOs in the region and sectors such as PIANGO and SPC in organising conferences, interdisciplinary publications, and projects that address decolonisation, rethinking development paradigms and the importance of Pacific indigenous knowledge systems. To continue this project over the next 6 years, interdisciplinary courses or faculty/student-exchange programmes need to be integrated into the life and work of the College. Finally, the purpose of investing in its Education Extension programmes is twofold. First, there is a growing niche of people who are interested in doing a degree online for availability and financial reasons. Second, as the name implies, extending education is an opportunity to market our services to the region and the rest of the world. The College is in the process of uploading its dissertations online with the intent to make these available as open-access. The strategy is that this will generate enough interest to determine what programmes they are most interested in, before taking the leap of offering a degree.