The International Baptist Theological Seminary (IBTS), Prague, has announced it has secured future academic programmes with the VU University Amsterdam and the University of Manchester.
In June 2013 IBTS signed an agreement to become a collaborative Centre within the Faculty of Theology of the VU University Amsterdam to guarantee facilities for PhD research degrees. The VU has one of the largest Theology Faculties in Europe and its research degrees are 'highly regarded', IBTS said in a statement.
The move comes following the decision of IBTS’ previous partner, the University of Wales, to withdraw from all international collaborative relationships. Most existing IBTS PhD candidates have been transferred to the VU and new students will be enrolled from September 2014.
In addition in August 2013 IBTS signed an agreement with the University of Manchester recognising the Seminary as an approved partner for the award of an MA degree in Baptistic Histories and Theologies.
The programme, designed and delivered by IBTS, has been approved by and leads to an award of the University of Manchester - one of the UK’s Russell group of Universities. Awards from the University of Manchester are highly valued. The Master’s programme can be taken over one year full-time or up to five years part-time.
Speaking of these developments new IBTS Rector the Revd Dr Parush Parushev, said, ‘To be able to offer a Master’s degree with Manchester and a PhD with the VU is a tremendous outcome to a period of uncertainty, and strong validation of the quality of post-graduate work at IBTS.’
Addressing questions about the Seminary’s future, Dr. Parushev continued, ‘Over the past months the uncertainty concerning our future and the knowledge that the Prague campus is up for sale has led some to conclude that IBTS is closing.
'As can be seen from these developments, nothing could be further from the truth. IBTS is planning for, working towards and anticipating a bright and exciting academic future.’
Speaking of the new arrangement, Dean of the Faculty of Theology at VU, Professor Wim Janse, said, ‘This is an exciting development. The Baptist Seminary is an important partner for the VU strengthening the research agenda and our range of partnerships. We anticipate that this new relationship will be of great mutual benefit.’
IBTS is also anticipating the benefit of new facilities in a new location. The Seminary will be moving from Prague to join with the offices of its parent body, the European Baptist Federation (EBF), along with the Dutch Baptist Union and the Dutch Baptist Seminary in a new Baptist House project in Amsterdam.
Established in 1949 in Ruschlikon, Switzerland, IBTS enters its 65th year continuing its special mission within the world Baptist family. Since 1997 the focus of its mission within the EBF is as a postgraduate centre at the heart of a network of theological institutions throughout Europe and the Middle East.
Details of IBTS programs and application forms can be found at www.ibts.eu