When I first came to Malawi in 1988 there was no Bachelor’s degree in theology available in the country. In order to study theology up to Bachelor’s level it was necessary to go abroad. One of the most fulfilling assignments I was ever given was to coordinate the preparation of the first theology degree programme, at Chancellor College in Zomba. The more so as we had a “dream team” of excellent colleagues who worked together to make it a reality.
Now, a generation later, hundreds of Malawians have graduated with Bachelor’s degrees in theology, not only from Chancellor College but from many new universities that have sprung up around the country. Today it is time to take it to the next level. Malawians, with their strong appetite for education, once they have their Bachelor’s degree, often do not take long before they are thinking of going on to study for a Masters.
Hence postgraduate programmes are budding in many of the universities. Among them is Zomba Theological College with its aspiration to become a theological university. This is where I have my primary base, so I find myself much involved in the conception and preparation of the Masters programme. Once again, I am fortunate to be part of a “dream team” of excellent colleagues who bring their different skills and perspectives to the project.
The emerging plan is to launch a Masters degree in contextual theology. Like many other places in the Global South, there is a strong feeling in Malawi that the theological curriculum has been imported from the Western world without paying too much attention to the Malawian context and Malawian experience. Much good work has been done to address this deficit but we hope to take it to a new level with the new Masters programme. This is generating quite some excitement as we seek to do innovative work on the curriculum together. Watch this space.