Latest news from Newton College

Dec 13, 2023

We have heard from Bishop Jeffrey Driver about the latest from Newton College. The first piece of news is that from 2024 it will be renamed “Bishop Newton School of Theology”, part of the newly formed Modawa Institute of Higher Education!

This move “will bring together Newton College with the St Margaret’s School of Nursing, and a new school, the ‘David Hand School of Teaching’”, writes Bishop Jeffrey.

“The Provincial Council of the Anglican Church of PNG has been considering this important initiative over the past two to three years and in November passed the enabling Canon. The Northern (Oro) Province Provincial Government has come behind the proposal with strong support and the Kokoda Trust Foundation has emerged as a major partner.

“All this means that the Newton College Graduation on 19 November this year was the last under that banner. The next cohort of graduates will be from the Modawa Institute.

“All this will call for renewed endeavours at several levels. The staff and systems of the college will need to be expanded. The IT arrangements will need further development and there will need to be several new buildings. Included among the new buildings will be dormitory facilities for female students as well as additional lecture spaces.

Graduation 2023

“The graduation this year included a group of students who had completed the Diploma in Ministry, as well as spouses who had completed their own programme. In characteristic PNG fashion, it was a colourful and festive occasion. The liturgy itself had a powerfully Melanesian character, with the three languages of English, Tok Pisin and Motu used in both spoken word and song. A number of traditional dance groups participated in custom dress, with parts of the liturgy expressed in dance and movement.

“The graduation service itself was followed by speeches, more dancing and an abundance of food.

College Master planning process

“I am very grateful to Marshall Brougham Builders Adelaide and Walter Brooke Architects for assisting us with a draft masterplan for the college site. In addition to renovations and extension to existing buildings, we will need several more academic and residential buildings, as we transition to a multi-disciplinary institute… where the student body is made up of an equal number of male and female students.

“While students from nearby will be able to be bussed to the college, those from the more remote areas in the higher country or along the coast will need residential facilities. Already we have renovated the single male accommodation, but we will need a residential dormitory for 50-60 female students.

“There will be a need for further staff housing, as well.

Registration and Accreditation

Mid-year, we lodged the necessary documentation with the Department of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology (DHERST) to begin the processes for institutional registration and accreditation. The requirements involve everything from the physical buildings, IT accessibility, library, though to academic administration and curriculum.
The staff at DHERST have been very encouraging, including the head of DHERST, Fr Jan Czuba. But comments from leaders of other institutions suggest we still have a demanding process to pursue through to an on-site audit, probably around May/June next year.

Lecturer becomes a student again

“As we look to the future, the challenge will be to upgrade all lecturing staff to at least Masters’ Degree level. This will be needed as we move towards teaching at degree level. Next year, Deputy Principal, Fr Giles Motisi will head to St Francis College Brisbane to commence his Masters Degree studies.

“Fr Giles has been an important part of the progress we have made at Newton College over the past six to seven years, but now it is his turn to become a student!

Certificate studies and Advanced Diploma

“Next year a number of our current third year students move into a fourth year as they seek to complete an Advanced Diploma in Theology. This is a new course offering for Newton College and represents our desire to continue to lift standards and to provide opportunities for those students who show real academic ability.

“At the same time, we have a number of students studying at Cert4 level. This cohort includes a number of people who do not see their ministry focused around ordination, but who may be wishing to serve God as lay leaders in church agencies, schools or secular life. These are exciting new developments for the college and have brought a new burst of energy into the college community.

Supporting Newton College

“The Anglican Church of Papua New Guinea is facing enormous financial challenges. They look to their overseas partners for support and there is much we can do. This year we have benefitted wonderfully from the skills and time of two friends, Malcolm Irvine and Br Christopher John SSF. Malcolm is an accountant and has worked miracles with our financial systems. As well as being Minister General for the Society of St Francis, Br Chris is a librarian. He gave time to assist us with our library systems while in PNG mid-year.”

Bishop Driver shared that the students face, “on a weekly basis, challenges of health, finding enough food, [and] clothing themselves and their families.”

ABM thanks Bishop Driver for his report and asks that you continue to pray for the students and staff of the new Bishop Newton School of Theology, and their families now and during 2024.