The E-Reader Project expands in Angola, provides essential textbooks for theology students
By Nicole Burdakin
The Rev. Adriano Quelende, director of Global Formation for Spiritual Leaders at the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM), traveled to the annual conferences of Angola East and West, May 12–23, 2015, to introduce e-readers at two United Methodist schools of theology.
In Angola, Quelende was joined by Discipleship Ministries’ team to host e-reader training sessions at the Quessua School of Theology in Malange, Angola East, and School of Theology Bishop Emilio de Carvalho in Negage, Angola West. In addition to hosting training sessions on how to use the e-readers, the two agencies also signed three year partnerships with the deans of the theological schools.
A collaboration of GBHEM and Discipleship Ministries, the E-Reader Project is a simple way to give theology schools in remote areas access to current textbooks and reference books. Last year, the two agencies signed three-year partnerships with these theological schools in Angola. Currently, the project is installed 16 schools of theology in Africa and four in the Philippines.
“One of the greatest challenges of the E-Reader Project is finding textbooks, especially for students in the Francophone [French-speaking] or Lusophone [Portuguese-speaking] African annual conferences. In the Philippines where most students speak English, finding resource texts to load onto the Kindles is much simpler,” Quelende said. “Angola is a Lusophone country, so we relied heavily on our partners in Brazil.”
Portuguese content continues to be added to the e-readers with the help of the Methodist Theology School in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The Angola Bible Society of the Angola West annual conference area has also offered over 500 Portuguese books, in digital format, to be loaded on the e-readers. The e-reader currently includes e-books on Christian education, evangelism, preaching, counseling, church leadership, United Methodist worship and Wesleyan theology.
“This project is something new for all of us—the students receiving e-readers for the first time, schools developing new networks for sharing resources, and publishers who might be publishing e-books for the first time,” Quelende said.
Next year, representatives from GBHEM and Discipleship Ministries will return to Angola to evaluate how students and faculty are using the technology.
In addition to GBHEM and Discipleship Ministries, funding for the E-Reader Project comes from annual conferences, local churches, individual donors, universities and from the students themselves through a student fee each semester, which helps offset the price of the e-reader and its content. To learn more or donate online, visit www.umcereader.org.
Burdakin is editorial and production assistant, Office of Communications, General Board of Higher Education and Ministry.