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Corban partners internationally to transform Indonesia

Thursday, June 10, 2010

 

Corban University has formed an accreditation agreement with the Teachers College of Universitas Pelita Harapan (UPH), a top-ranked Indonesian university located in Lippo Karawaci, a township near Indonesia’s capital city, Jakarta. With approximately 12,000 students and internationally recognized programs, UPH is a globally influential institution.

Janine Allen, Ed.D., Corban’s dean of education and counseling, has worked closely with the development of an accreditation agreement over the last two years. “The vision of the Teachers College at UPH is to recruit Christians who have the heart and desire to teach K–12, to train them up, and to send them back into the rural and middle-class neighborhoods to reach Indonesia for Christ through education,” she said.

In early June, Corban Provost/Executive Vice President Matt Lucas, D.A., traveled to Indonesia and presented 141 Corban degrees to UPH’s teacher education graduates. Subsequent graduates will earn Corban degrees in the years to follow. According to Lucas, 250 graduates are expected in 2011, and another 250 are expected in 2012.

Lucas said, “This partnership fits our mission of educating Christians who will make a difference in the world for Jesus Christ.”

To understand the mission of the Teachers College (TC), one must grasp the educational backdrop of the country of Indonesia. Prior to 1993, Indonesian citizens had the choice of sending their children to either a poorly funded “national school,” or to an international school outside the country. Moreover, six-and-a-half million children in remote villages had no access to school at all.

Sheldon Nord ’82, Corban board member and former president of UPH, said, “It was James Riady’s vision, along with Johannes Oentoro, to provide a quality Christian education to meet the needs of the country’s various socioeconomic levels.” Riady, a Chinese-Indonesian, established the Pelita Harapan Educational Foundation, or the Educational Foundation of Hope and Light.

Nord continued, “The Riady family made a big commitment in that they give of their own resources to subsidize the Pelita Harapan [Foundation] schools, which are non-profit.”

The Foundation schools educate children in three socioeconomic levels. Its vision is to establish 10 elite, private Christian schools that prepare students to study at any international university. It also desires to establish 100 schools for children in a middle-class socioeconomic level and 1,000 schools for Indonesians in rural villages.

To staff these schools, the Teachers College was born as an entity of UPH.

The Foundation ensures that no eligible future-educator misses the opportunity to receive an education at UPH through offering generous scholarships. The students receive tuition, books, room and board, and even transport to and from home to visit family during the holidays. A marketing piece of TC describes that the education students “reciprocate the scholarship through studying successfully, fulfilling work requirements, graduating as a teacher, being appointed to a school, teaching effectively and repaying part of your salary.”

“I am amazed by the commitment the Indonesian graduates have for TC’s mission,” Lucas stated. “They know why they’re there!

“One morning I had the opportunity to visit one of the village schools. A number of stories were shared about the academic success of the school compared with other schools, but the most moving story was the brief anecdote about the teachers donating some of their salary to help the poorest children afford to come to the school. Shortly after that, I was taken up to the ‘dorm,’ if you could call it that, for these teachers. I was humbled. They were living out the Macedonian description found in 2 Corinthians — ‘their abundance of joy and their deep poverty overflowed in the wealth of their liberality.’”

Like all courses at Corban, the education courses at UPH’s TC are taught from a biblical worldview. The bachelor’s degree differs, however, from the degree that Corban students earn in the States in that it is designed for an Indonesian context, not for U.S. licensure.

Also, the Indonesian programs are conducted in the student’s choice of language, English or Bahasa Indonesia. Both language tracks present the same curriculum and equip graduates to be effective teachers in Indonesia.

Corban and UPH began forming the accreditation partnership three years ago, when UPH officials invited Corban administrators to learn about the Foundation and its schools. The introduction to UPH was made through Nord, who serving as UPH’s president at the time. Visits and work sessions of Corban personnel with TC continued in 2008 and 2009 as Corban administrators made recommendations for the program.

An official proposal was formalized between the schools, subject to the approval of the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU). A document-signing ceremony took place at UPH in June 2009. President Hoff was also UPH’s keynote speaker for their commencement in 2009. Ten months later, on March 17, 2010, the NWCCU officially sanctioned the agreement.

Corban administrators made another trip to UPH to systemize and audit more than 140 student files in late April 2010. Lucas returned to Indonesia on June 3 to help lead commencement ceremonies and recognize Corban’s first Indonesian graduates.

Lucas described UPH Commencement 2010: “It was a fantastic event. It included Indonesian dances that represented the areas the graduates were from, a slide show that showed where the students were going and a video that captured the last four years. They also incorporated a number of moving musical selections and praise choruses. What was most impressive was that the entire event was planned by the TC students … on top of all their academic work.”

A next step for the partnership includes the hire of a Corban liaison who, beginning in fall 2010, will oversee the fulfillment of accreditation standards at UPH and travel overseas at least three times a year. UPH will fund the position and will send delegations to Corban periodically as well.

Allen said, “It’s very exciting to see Corban’s mission enacted at the international level.”

This is Corban’s third partnership with Indonesian institutions within the last few years. An agreement to accept international students sponsored by the Indonesian government became official last September, when 11 students from Papua, Indonesia, joined Corban’s student body through a matriculation program. Corban administrators are working to bring another group of Papuan students to Corban in August 2010.

A previous agreement between UPH and Corban, made in 2007, is the other partnership. The contract provides for faculty exchanges. Each summer, UPH looks to bring Christians from the United States to their university to teach. Classes cover a broad range of subjects, and all are taught in English.

Several Corban faculty members have already taught a UPH session including Jim Hills, Stephanie Husk, Ellen Jacobs, and Jim Sprow. Lucas said, “It is a wonderful opportunity for professional development and to experience higher education cross-culturally. UPH values biblical integration and our faculty do an excellent job of doing this in their instruction.”