By MICHELLE AMBA
“Make me a compassionate pastor-teacher
So that I will lead the pupils to Christ
I shall live a Christ –Like life
And work for the Lord and not for man
My Lord, I answer your call to serve
And to remote schools I shall go
To reach the unreached…..and with the word as the lamb unto my feet”
These lines are part of the theme song Go tell it on the Mountain at the 10th graduation of Melanesia Nazarene Teachers College (MNTC), known to locals as Wara Tuman Teachers College in, Anglimp South Whagi electorate of Jiwaka.
Tuman Bible College used to train Narazene pastors until 2007 when the Nazarene Church set out to fulfil its broader vision to reach the unreached. It wanted to give a second chance to those that had the potential but where forced out by the normal system.
College chairman Rev Peter Degene once said this was a way of spreading the work of the church through education and training.
“We want to train multi-purpose teachers; not only teachers but pastors who can do pastoral work that cannot be reached. We are reaching the un-reached and we would want that to be a testament for those being touched and those that have received training here at Melanesian Nazarene Teachers College.”
Self-discipline and godly principles are core values taught together with academic courses for teacher training. Future teachers are taught the essentials of being role models when the complete their training at MNTC.
“MNTC is not a profit making organisation, we are focused on serving others through the service we provide. We aim to train pastor-teachers, who are rural-focused and are willing to go to the remotest parts of Papua New Guinea, places where public servants refuse to go. In that way, we not only have a teacher teaching in a classroom but a pastor on pastoral duty as well,” said college principal Totobe Samilo.
The demand is increasing ever year and the existing facilities can only cater for a certain number of intakes every year. Jiwaka’s only tertiary institution has not received any funding assistance from the provincial government throughout its 10-year life span .The only assistance was from the Australian Government, under its Australia Awards programme. Through this partnership, the program sponsored nine pioneers, who completed one year and graduated with certificates in elementary teaching.
The scholarship covered, full tuition fee, book allowance, stipend and medical insurance. Through this partnership, a fully kitted computer lab plus improvements to the water supply and dormitories where delivered to the institution.
The college with the partnership fostered through this mutual understanding had achieved great results within a short time.
However, their prayers have finally been answered! The Jiwaka government has now set foot on MNTC, promising to carry on a long relationship with the institution, providing financial assistance to improve and develop new infrastructures to cater for demand.
Jiwaka Governor Dr William Tongamp made this undertaking when accepting an invitation to attend the graduation last month. He presented K110,000 to the college, promising another lot of funding for next year to deliver a project for the institution.
“The Jiwaka provincial government does not have any other business but to partner with this institution. I want the administration together with the governing council to identify a project for next year. The provincial government will see the funding of this project,” said Governor Tongamp.
“Do not take life for granted, our life is a gift from God,” the governor challenged the graduates
“Set your goal and work towards it. You must be focused in life, do not have too many goals, have your mind fixed. In life you can only achieve when you have a clear understanding of what you really want.”
This new partnership with existing partnerships will certainly bring greater changes to the college in the years ahead. And so the 119 who graduated on Nov 23 will be joining the rest who will be educating Papua New Guinea children. This lot plus former MNTC products bring with them moral values into the classroom.
In committing themselves to upholding these values the graduates recited the solemn pledge to serve:
I, a student of Melanesia Nazarene Teachers College pledge myself before God, To serve in a remote school.
Thank God for the gift of education, and teacher training.
I pledge to serve with Christian love, trust and commitment for the pupils entrusted to me.
I pledge to serve diligently for my God, my people and my country.
God bless my efforts.
And when they leave the college, Bata Bagali will be going back to his home province, Western, to provide this essential service which has not reached his people. He said MNTC has provided that opportunity for many like himself to gain training to go back and help his people in the remotest part of Western.
An excited Bagali said he was never satisfied with life before receiving this diploma. Like many who graduated with him and those before, their potential was uncovered here at MNTC.
“I came to the Highlands to gain this training for the love of my people and province.
“I wanted to be a teacher because teachers did not want to go to my province due to its geographical condition. I saw the need for the younger ones to be educated. I made that decision two years ago and now I am a happy person for I know that my people will be happy with this achievement,” said Bata.
- Michelle Amba is a freelance journalist.