Three distance learning PhD students from Malawi spent time experiencing student life at the University of Aberdeen last week, as part of a unique partnership between the University and Zomba Theological College.
In 2016 a collaborative partnership between the University of Aberdeen and Zomba Theological College in Malawi was created, providing the opportunity for church leaders across sub-Saharan Africa to study for a MTh Ministry Studies . In addition to this, the University invited three members of staff from the college to join its distance PhD divinity programme.
Last week, the University welcomed three PhD candidates, Rev Brian Theu, Rev David Kawanga and Rev Thomas Nyang’ama, onto campus to take part in the Centre for Ministry Studies Summer School Programme.
Rev Dr Ken Jeffrey, coordinator of the University’s Centre for Ministry Studies, said: “In 1875 Aberdeen Alum, Dr Robert Laws founded the first Christian mission in Malawi and played a crucial role in the education of local people there, and I am delighted that more than 100 years later, the University is maintaining its ties to Malawi.
“It has been great having Brian, David and Thomas here at Old Aberdeen as although being distance students they still benefit from being taught by our excellent staff and using our resources. It is good for them to have the opportunity to fully immerse themselves into the Aberdeen experience.
“I am extremely proud that Aberdeen has formed this partnership. Previously, church leaders in Malawi who wanted to pursue postgraduate studies had to travel to other African nations or come to Europe or the USA to further their education. Our partnership with Zomba Theological College allows them to study for their Masters and Doctoral degrees in their own country. At the end of this period, we hope that the increased capacity in Zomba, provided by the staff who have gained their PhDs from Aberdeen, will allow them to develop their own postgraduate programmes of study.”
Rev Thomas Nyang’ama, who is studying for a PhD in Christian Ethics, commented: “Distance learning allows me to carry on working and to deal with my responsibilities at home in Malawi while carrying out my studies. Studying with the University of Aberdeen is fantastic as the University has excellent resources, which will give me the knowledge I need to be an excellent minister, all the while still concentrating on being an excellent lecturer at Zomba College in Malawi. Having the opportunity to do both has been extremely important to me.”