The Ethiopian Graduate School of Theology, EGST, awarded degrees to 61 graduates on July 29, 2017 in its campus and announced new programmes. The class of 2017 consist of 49 male and 12 female from five programmes – 3 in Theology, 29 in Biblical and Theological Studies, 9 in Leadership and Management, 14 in Development Studies and 7 in Post Graduate Diploma in Biblical and Theological Studies.
The proportion of female graduates this year, 20%, indicated a decline by 14% in female students’ completion rate compared to last year’s 34%. The graduation ceremony included speeches, a sermon, worship, academic awards, testimonies and charge to the graduates among other things. Religious leaders from different ecumenical traditions, invited guests and families of graduates attended the event.
Addressing the 2017 Graduation Ceremony, EGST Director, Dr. Misgana Mathewos, remarked that the EGST administration and faculty are not content with the current number of graduates and are making every effort to increase the number from time to time vis-Ã -vis the faculty development plan.
Highlighting the achievements of the 2016/17 Academic Year, the Director announced the launching of a PhD programme in collaboration with the Free University of Amsterdam (VU, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam) in the Netherlands for which more than 20 prospective PhD students have submitted their applications for initial assessment. He further introduced a revised curriculum with two new concentration areas in Practical Theology and Public Theology under the MA in Biblical and Theological Studies programme to address the current ecclesial and socio-political issues and to provide more options for students who join EGST.
Dr. Misgana further reported that “EGST’s institutional credentials have continued to grow in Africa and Europe. Besides already existing partnerships with academic and accrediting institutions, EGST has recently been accepted by the network of institutions called NetACT, i.e., Network for African Congregational Theology, as 41st member”.
Reporting on the academic faculty, he said that the sabbatical of Drs Ermias Mamo and Desta Heliso is completed, Estifanos Tesemma, who is part of the first faculty development scheme, has completed his PhD at St. Andrews University and two of the four female faculty development candidates started their PhD studies at Durham and Edinburgh Universities. “We are hopeful that the remaining two will go for their studies any time in 2017/18 academic years’ he predicted.”
The professorship of Dr. Aklilu Dalelo in Geography and Environmental Education from Addis Ababa University was also announced by the Director. Prof. Aklilu is currently EGSTs’ regular part-time faculty, co-leader of the Development Studies Programme, and Coordinator of EGSTs’ Centre for Holistic Development and Environmental Stewardship.
The Director also said that “we expect the total number of students for 2017/18 to be slightly more than 200. EGST acknowledges the ever increasing role of EGST students and alumni in attracting new applicants to EGST programmes. However, we have not reached the target set in the Strategic Plan yet” and he called up on the church and institutional leaders to use EGST more than before to train leaders, pastors and theologians to meet their human capacity development needs; “I call upon the present graduates and the alumni to join hands with EGST staff to attract more students to EGST” the Director requested.
Outlining the community engagement of the school, the Director emphasized that “EGST’s community engagement and partnership with local communities is growing from time to time.”
He mentioned the support provided to Juvenile Delinquency Rehabilitation Centre at Lideta sub-city to offer moral and material support to young offenders aged between 9-14, as well as financial and material assistance to Woreda 04 for the expansion of school Montessori and dining hall.
The EGST administration appreciates the staff and students who made contributions for such good causes and appeals to them to continue their good work, the Director said.
“The Church leaders training and empowerment program conducted by our project office is now being extended from Addis Ababa and Holeta to Butajira, Woliso, Adama and Debreberhan to reach out as many local church leaders as possible” the Director explained.
“EGST continues to provide maternal and child health trainings and services that benefit thousands of families in Addis Ababa and its surroundings” and further mentioned EGST’s partnership “with four government teacher training colleges and four theological colleges to promote the idea and practice of environmental stewardship”.
Â â€œEGST continues to engage with churches and government offices in Ethiopia to cultivate field education for its students through its practicum programmeâ€ the Director stressed.
According to projections from the EGST Registrarâ€™s Office, the number of expected active studentship for the 2017/18 academic year is expected to be 203 (153 male, 50 female).
After a sermon by Nigussie Bulcha and award of degrees to the graduates, further academic prizes were given and the highest institutional academic trophy was granted to Samason Tadelle Demo.
In his charge to the graduates, Dr. Eyasu Elias, Vice Chairperson of the EGST Council of Owners and EKHC President, indicated the challenges the graduates might face. â€œYou are graduating at a crucially important time in the history of the Evangelical Churches in Ethiopia. Today, the church is in dire need of ministers to teach and disciple the laity that are tossed and carried away by every wind of false prophesy and unsound teachings.â€ He further urged EGST faculty to design action research on the issues and remarked that â€œchurch leadership is being seriously challenged under todayâ€™s world of democracy, self-governance and ethnicity hard to see the influence of exemplary church leadership.â€
EGST exists to equip Christ-like women and men through theological and related studies and stimulate research for the service of church and society in Ethiopia and beyond. The main areas of work are teaching, research and community engagement. EGST currently offers five programmes; Post Graduate Diploma in Biblical and Theological Studies (PGD), Master of Arts in Biblical and Theological Studies (MABTS), Master of Arts in Leadership and Management (MALM), Master of Arts in Development Studies with specialization areas in Community Development and Theology and Gender, Health and Theology (MADevS), as well as Master of Theology (MTh). EGST plans to start other programmes and is making preparations towards launching a PhD programme in 2017/18. With the current 61 graduates included, EGST has graduated a total of 526 masters and postgraduate diploma alumnus since its establishment in 1997.Â
In 2010, EGST has been awarded accreditation by the Association for Christian Theological Education in Africa (ACTEA), recognizing the teaching standards and contextual relevance of EGSTâ€™s programs as well as the overall administration and resources of the school. EGST is also registered in Ethiopia according to Proclamation Number 691/2003 by the Ministry of Federal and Pastoral Development Affairs to serve church and society with the objective of teaching, research and community engagement.
EGST was jointly founded in 1997 by the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus (EECMY), the Ethiopian Kale Heywet Church (EKHC), and the Evangelical Churches Fellowship of Ethiopia (ECFE), which together represent the majority of the Evangelical believers in Ethiopia.Â [EGST PR].