One of COVID-19’s fringe benefits is that theological schools and networks in Africa have begun to work more closely together and help one another – now more than ever before.
NetACT (https://netact.org.za/wordpress/), was originally created with the primary aim of making theological schools (which originated from Dutch Reformed Church missionary work in Africa) work better together. In the meantime, NetACT has expanded to include more than 50 theological schools from different denominations all over Africa south of the Sahara. But now they need all possible help from ministers with postgraduate degrees, preferably PhD, DTh, or DLitt (in theology) qualifications.
Theology training in Africa is in a crisis because the COVID-19 pandemic caused schools to drastically reduce their staff. This year there were no students in classes for more than six months due to the lockdown. In terms of how most of the schools in Africa operate, it means that there was no financial income.
A number of these schools asked the NetACT office if it is possible to find pro bono help to assist them in teaching online graduate modules and/or to assist as promotors or co-promotors for post-graduate studies.
How will it work?
You can do this from your study. The medium of instruction will be:
- Online Theological Education
- and similar internet programs.
Do you want to be part of the team?
There are 2 options:
- Fill out the online form at https://bit.ly/32UH7pR
- Please fill out this form and e-mail it to Prof. Jurgens Hendriks (Stellenbosch University) at firstname.lastname@example.org to Dr Nico Mostert (University of the Free State) at email@example.com.
This information helps us to compile a database from which we will be able to determine which supervisor/co-supervisor fits which module and which student’s field of study. We introduce the parties to each other, and the parties conduct the rest of the negotiations using NetACT as necessary.
If funds can be found, we will see if we can help you to visit the particular school in Africa for better contact and to get to know the circumstances and context.
Research training workshops
NetACT developed, with the help of the Oxford Centre for Religion in Public Life as well as the South African Universities (SU, PU, NWU and FSU) an annual postgraduate student research training workshop.
On average we have twenty to thirty M and D students attending these fourteen-day training events. These students are not only from Africa but from all over the Majority World which makes the workshops extremely interesting. One discovers worlds and wonderful people that open your eyes to unknown realities. All aspects of doing a research degree are discussed in detail with the student working on or applying what he/she is learning to the topic he/she wants to research. Students work in subgroups on their topics and help one another. They also get input from professors and workshop presenters.
Registration stuff is sorted out too. In these two or three weeks, students get work done that otherwise would have taken them a year to sort out. These workshops save promotors and co-promotes an enormous amount of time.
Promotors are free to join the workshop but usually attend the part where their students are presenting their research designs and require input for specialized research areas.
For promotors and co-promotors doing pro-bono work, this is an ideal opportunity to brush up on their technical skills on being a study leader. In previous years, these workshops were held at Stellenbosch but this year, in October 2020, it will be done via Zoom.