An exchange forum has been organised by Christian universities and theological colleges in Burundi to help them exchange ideas, share resources and build partnerships. Organisers hope that the collaborative project will go a long way in equipping and empowering students with the skills and training to build successful careers.
The Bishop of Bujumbura, Eraste Bigirimana, is taking a lead in furthering effective working relationships between the partner institutions. Education is a major concern for Christian leaders in Burundi and Bishop Eraste has a particular passion for education. He has previously spoken about the challenges facing children seeking an education in Burundi.
Bishop Eraste, who holds two degrees from Uganda Christian University, also has a strong background in building relationships between higher education institutions, having previously established strong links between the Province of Burundi and Aston University in Birmingham, England.
Chancellors from the universities and church leaders have welcomed the introduction of the exchange forum, hailing the rich potential of academic institutions in serving the members of their respective communities in order to help heal the wounds of the civil war and build a prosperous future for Burundi.
"As educational institutions face recruitment and financial pressures it is more important than ever that they liaise with each other, share resources and bring their own distinctive gifts to the table", Canon Stephen Spencer, the Director for Theological Education in the Anglican Communion, said. "This is true within theological education and also within higher education in general.
Bishop Eraste's initiative is to be welcomed and supported widely. The Colleges and Universities Network of the Anglican Communion (CUAC), which has its tri-annual conference in July in London, is another body that is doing the same kind of thing across the globe. The Burundi forum provides a good example for others to emulate."
Burundians recognise the importance of working with other African nations to build their country's international reputation. Daystar University, based in Nairobi, is one of Africa's leading Christian liberal arts universities. It has organised a forthcoming work visit to Burundi in order to discuss how they might work in partnership on future projects.