By Rev. Adriano Quelende and Perfeito Massamba
Our goal for this visit in June was to deliver new e-readers and talk to the students and staff whose daily lives are impacted by the project. When we arrived at Quessua School of Theology for our three-day visit, we attend a worship service with the whole community. After meeting with the students, we heard them voice their concerns that they aren’t getting enough time with the e-readers. In our meeting with Bishop José Quipungo we suggested that school be more liberal in their lending the e-readers to the students, to allow them to take the devices home–overnight and weekends.
Quessua School of Theology has been a partner with the E-Reader Project since its start in 2015. We met with the school’s new project coordinator and librarian José Guedes. Guedes has limited the use of the e-readers to the library, in hopes that the students would create a habit of visiting the library as well as keep a close eye on the devices to prevent damage.
A week later, we traveled to Uige (500km from Luanda) in West Angola to visit the Bishop Emeílio de Carvalho School of Theology. We found that the lending policy for the e-readers was quite the opposite from Quessua. The students are each given a Kindle and aren’t required to return it until the end of the semester.
The students at Bishop Emílio School are younger, and the quickly adapted to the new technology. They use the e-readers almost every day, taking them wherever they go. They are so engaged with their e-readers. I was so happy to learn some students have even used the Kindle’s social networking feature through Goodreads.com to connect with readers from Brazil and Portugal.
In conclusion, we can say the project is going well at both schools. At Quessua, because of the constantly changing staff, they still need some convincing that the students need time alone with the e-readers. Time that they can work with and feel responsible for them. We call the students at Bishop Emílio School “seeds of hope.” You can see their enthusiasm and passion when they are working with the e-readers. They are becoming experts!
The E-Readers for Theological Education initiative is a partnership with Higher Education and Ministry and Discipleship Ministries and is committed to providing e-libraries on e-readers with important theological texts to the libraries of United Methodist-related and sponsored theological schools in Africa and the Philippines. Learn more about the E-Reader project and donate today