Kick-off meeting International Network of Christian Education (INCE)

Placed on 18 april 2017

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INCE is a network that has been initiated by Woord en Daad and Driestar educatief and that aims to improve education worldwide. On 7 February 2017 the official kick-off meeting took place in Gorinchem.

INCE opening

At 12:30 p.m. the colleagues from Driestar Educatief and Woord en Daad came together for a joint lunch. After the opening speech given by Rina Molenaar (Woord en Daad Executive Board), the new coordinator of the INCE office Sjoerd van den Berg introduced himself. The office will develop products for the network. Sjoerd is currently a teacher of religious education and the coordinator of bilingual education and internationalization at the Wartburg College and he will start working for INCE on 1 March 2017.

Guide

Rens Rottier (Driestar educatief Executive Board) used an image to explain his dream for the network: with INCE we are using good Christian education to build a bridge across which we can guide children from one world to another. At the deepest level we are seeking to bring pupils and students to God.

Equal

Rina Molenaar explained that if INCE is to be successful it is important that the key values of sustainability, synergy and success prevail. She reflected on the situation several years ago. She interviewed her fellow Executive Board member Jan Lock and the Executive Board of Driestar educatief, Rens Rottier and Robert Zoutendijk. They explained the process of forming a network: “It was a struggle. We did not want to establish institutes but instead set up a network of teacher training courses and educational advisory services that make a difference in environments in which that is not obvious. As we look back we can see that clear progress has been made.”

Contextualization

“For many years we have collaborated in fantastic projects for good Christian education,” said Jan Lock, “but the impact was often disappointing.” A critical evaluation revealed that a trained teacher did not realize any big changes at a school.” Robert Zoutendijk: “We will therefore now tackle things in an integral manner with a tailored approach for each country. We will build up a local network of various partners and invest in the development of at least five successful projects. Once that is up and running well, we can work further on our final objective of a self-governing, self-supporting worldwide work.”

When asked Jan Lock explained how research will be given a place in this: “We will develop semi-finished products and ensure that we enter a region with open mind and without doing any studies in advance. In the regions, contextualization and application will take place so that we develop products that the market needs.”

Approach

After the introduction, the colleagues present split into groups to think together about the different spearheads and challenges of the network. With the help of a concrete case they applied what they had heard before the break. During a plenary session afterwards, they enthusiastically discussed the cases they had elaborated. Subsequently Jaap Braaksma (Driestar educatief), Greetje Urban (Woord en Daad) and Missy Christie from CDA Colombia (via Skype) said something about the projects that have now been started in Nepal, Burkina Faso and Colombia.

In these projects, the local partners do not take the lead but the project itself is leading. Consequently INCE has a very different approach from the approaches generally used by Woord en Daad and Driestar educatief up until now. Jaap Braaksma quoted the partner from Nepal: “With the model of INCE, all of the puzzle pieces fall into place in your own context.”