The COVID-19 outbreak has impacted most of our countries, and experts are indicating that we all have some difficult months ahead. Many ECTE member schools are being closed, residential delivery is being supplanted by various forms of distance education, and most of our students, staff and faculty are studying and working in isolation in their own homes.
As network of over 70 theological schools, we can offer each other solidarity and support in this difficult time. Some of you may have found creative alternatives to delivery or other ideas of good practice. Some may have well-developed video content or learning platforms that you might be willing share with other schools. Others yet may have developed good pastoral advice or theological responses that might benefit the entire community. Clearly, the events that are unfolding will also have a financial impact and as a network we can support each other as we each face similar challenges. Some may simply wish to share their story.
Please use the COMMENTS function at the bottom of this post for the benefit of our network (you can also subscribe).
Concerning our work as a quality assurance agency, we want to assure you that our work is ongoing. We met just yesterday as a Council by Zoom, and we are all working from home. Sadly, we have had to cancel the VET Training Session we had planned in Rome for April, which means that we will also have to defer any site visitations with the newly approved Standards and Guidelines until after Autumn 2020 (when we have tentatively rescheduled the training). We have also had to cancel some on site visits, for which we apologise.
We are aware that the quality of your delivery will inevitably be impacted by factors that are beyond your control. You may not be able to deliver the hours of learning that are prescribed by accurate ECTS counting. You may not be able to administer exams appropriately. You may not be able to maintain your standards as a learning community. You may not be able to guarantee library access. You may not be allowed to implement practical ministry placements. You may have an unusual number of staff and faculty that are either ill or unable to operate fully from their homes. You may have issues with your graduation requirements. And so on. As I look at our accreditation standards, there are many areas that are subject to impact. In all this, we would like to reassure you of the maximum flexibility on the part of the ECTE. Please do write to us with specific queries using this form: COVID-19 ECTE Queries We will try to respond creatively on a case by case. We will publish the results of these queries with guidance for good practice here Good Practice in Emergency
Finally, may we encourage you to consider taking the Educating in Emergency nanocourse that has been developed by the ICETE Academy. This course only lasts 2 hours and provides some good suggestions and a global discussion forum where you can compare your experience with those of other schools across the world. As an ECTE member, you benefit from an organisational plan, so the course is completely free (you only need to register and self-enrol, instructions here).
The entire ECTE Council wishes you every blessing in this difficult season.