Roughly at the same time when “schools500reformation” (GPENreformation’s ancestor) was being born, a French-speaking network was being created (in 2014), with very similar aims, the “Réseau International de l’Enseignement Protestant” (RIEP), whose head office was located with Défap, the protestant mission service, in Paris. This creation answered a strong wish expressed during two pedagogical conferences organized in 2011 and 2013 in Paris, where about forty directors of school structures and associations from around the world had gathered.
Here is what the RIEP bylaws say about its ambitions: “facilitate exchange and collaboration between the protestant educational structures, mostly in the French-speaking world; promote by Churches and their leaders the need for quality education for all; encourage an efficient protestant school network so as to shape responsible citizens able to help develop their country.” Apart from the connection with the 500th anniversary of Reformation, what great similarities!!
RIEP is composed of about fifteen school structures from Africa, Madagascar, Haïti, New Caledonia… Communication so far has been through Emails, and the members of the administrative council have met physically a few times. With time, mostly through lack of sufficient resources in staff, skills and finances, RIEP has regretted a certain limitation of the wished-for interaction the network had aimed at. And yet, the desire to enrich one another through the exchange of good ideas and practices, and the need to widen the horizon to better equip our students for their future vocation, do remain.
That’s why the idea came up to combine the two networks’ forces to initiate a new dynamic. A meeting in the Netherlands on January 5th, between the GPENreformation Council and Mireille Boissonnat, involved as a volunteer with RIEP for Défap, laid the foundation for a possible collaboration.
RIEP could become a member of GPENreformation, as its French-speaking sub-network; it would adjust its name to “RIEPréformation”; would benefit from the visibility offered by the GPENreformation website while contributing to its animation. Such an enlargement should benefit all educational actors involved in those initiatives for sharing ideas and developing mutual solidarity. The process is under way – hopefully we can tell you more soon!