Twelve teachers at IPEKA Integrated Christian School in Indonesia have something new to hang on their office walls: Indiana Wesleyan University diplomas. And more IWU diplomas are destined for the world’s largest island nation.
Several years ago when I began to cast the vision of IWU as a global Christian learning community little did I know that our learning community would include Indonesia. One of the highlights of the past year was the lunch I shared with these IWU students as they talked about what this opportunity meant to them.
Dr. Brock Reiman flew to the Indonesian capital city of Jakarta in early October to present Master of Education diplomas in person to the first group of teachers to complete the two-year graduate course. Another 24 teachers at the school are enrolled in the program and will graduate in 2018.
Reiman is IWU’s Vice President for Academic Affairs in the College of Adult and Professional Studies.
The initial relationship between IWU and IPEKA grew out of a friendship between administrators at the two schools, Dr. Bridget Aitchison at IWU and Dr. Janet Nason at IPEKA. The schools signed an agreement in 2014 to offer the master’s class in Jakarta.
Classes were taught both online and onsite, with IWU faculty members traveling to Jakarta to teach some courses. As part of their studies, teachers enrolled in the program were required to complete – and implement – an action research project that addressed an education-related issue in their school.
The graduate class is a first step in what IWU and IPEKA administrators hope will be a growing relationship between the two schools.
On October 31, a team from the IWU admissions office traveled to Jakarta to participate in a college fair for students at IPEKA School. Reiman said several students from the Indonesian school already attend American colleges, but none of them yet at IWU’s undergraduate programs.
The IPEKA Integrated Christian School, which has 1,200 students enrolled in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade, is part of a family of Indonesian schools based in the Jakarta area but with schools on other islands.
Dr. William Ho, a Chinese pastor who said he could not find any Christian schools for his children to attend, established the foundation that owns and operates the schools. The first school opened in 1979 with five teachers and 100 students. The foundation now has 12 schools with over 11,000 students and 1,100 teachers and staff.
IPEKA Integrated Christian School opened in 1999 in a modern, high-rise building in Jakarta. “All of their campuses are top-notch,” Reiman said.
The Republic of Indonesia, which consists of 13,000 islands, is the fourth most populated country in the world with 260 million people. Jakarta, with a population of 9.5 million, is the largest city in Indonesia.
(David Wright and Alan Miller)