Brief History of Kachin Theological College and Seminary (Nawng Nang)
The history of Kachin Theological College (KTC), now Kachin Theological College and Seminary (KTCS), can be traced back to 1901. Rev. Dr. Ola Hanson, a missionary who translated the Bible into Kachin, introduced Bible classes for Kachin and Karen evangelists somewhere in Myitkyina, Bhamo and Nam Hkam in 1901. Rev. Sword, another American missionary, also established a small Bible school in Nam Hkam. These Bible classes could be considered as the forerunners of KTCS.
But the actual formation of Kachin Bible School took place not until 1932. In 1930, three of the Kachin ethnic leaders – Maran Robin (Myitkyina); Lahpai Zau Tu (Bhamo); and Labya De (Shan State) went and requested at the Convention meeting of the Board of American Baptist Mission headquartered in Yangon to grant a separate Bible School for the Kachin church. Consequently, the request was accepted and finally led to the initial planning for the formation of Kachin Bible School. While this formation was in the process, Rev. George J. Geis and Mrs. Geis, a former retired missionary couple, were requested to return to Kachin State and to resume their ministry as the principal of the Bible school. Arriving back in Bhamo in 1931, the Kachin Bible School was established in the mission compound in Bhamo on June 1, 1932. The Bible School was started with 9 students in the first year.
On April 15, 1934, the Bible School was moved to Kutkai in the northern Shan state. This time, the school was able to offer 2-year course. The main aim and purpose was to help the students improve in their preaching and witnessing the Gospel. The school prepared its curriculum to meet the immediate needs of the new Kachin community who had recently converted from an animistic background. The classes were interrupted by the political situation in the country between 1942 and 1945. The school was able to resume its teaching work in April 1946. From 1950, the Bible school accepted the students who passed the 7 standard. While this academic transition was in the process, the Bible School was again moved far up to Nawng Nang, Myitkyina, Kachin State, the northern part of Myanmar, in 1966.
In 1974, the school was upgraded to offer 4-year diploma course. Again, the Layman course was integrated in 1976, which was later replaced by the L.Th. course in 1985. In September, 1982, Kachin Theological School became a member school of ATESEA. Although it had yet to be approved by the ATESEA, B.Th. was started in 1990.
In 1990, Hkyen Naw, who returned from the USA with a D.Miss., was appointed as Acting Principal. From 1993 Dr. Hkyen Naw has become the Principal and under his leadership the college received its accreditation for both the L.Th. and the B.Th. in 1991 from ATESEA.
As the college has been encouraged by the ATESEA, M.Div. program was started in 1996-97, which is accredited in 2000. In 1998, the Bible School of Kutkai which existed independently since 1966 became affiliated School of Kachin Theological College. This KTC Branch School in Kutkai continues its layman course, Diploma, and L.Th. in Kachin vernacular. The college also started B.Th. Program in 2006.
As KTCS moves toward the 21st century, she remembers the Diploma and the L.Th. graduates who are serving in the respective local church ministry. Thus, beginning with the 2003-2004 academic year, the College has offered the Bachelor of Ministry(B.Min.) program. The aim and purpose of the B. Min. course is to update and upgrade theological education of the experienced ministers to encourage the community based leadership for the new century.
KTCS has had four principals: Rev. Lahpai Zau Yaw (1946-65), Rev. Dr. Lahtaw Gum Se (1966-1993), Rev. Dr. Saga Hkyen Naw (1993-2009), Rev. Dr. Nalaw Dai Hkawng (2010 to the present).
KTCS made a significant milestone in 2008 as she celebrated 75th anniversary Diamond Jubilee. In order to establish a monument for the anniversary, the working committee of the Diamond Jubilee constructed the three-storeyed Diamond Jubilee Building which is able to accommodate over a hundred of students. After the celebration of the Diamond Jubilee, KTCS made another great effort to build a Main Building, which provides class rooms, meeting rooms, faculty offices, student recreation centre and other multifunctional rooms. This main building will be dedicated on March 2015 for the ministry of God’s Kingdom.
In 2013-2014 academic year, the liberal arts program, Bachelor of Arts in Theological Studies (BATS) majoring in English and Music was launched. KTCS is also in the process of offering Computer Science program.
This history is evidence of the stability of KTCS as an institution of higher learning. Increasingly, the college and seminary is recognized as one of the largest seminaries in Myanmar. She was founded for the purpose of training and nurturing God’s people develop effective leadership in the life of the church and society and to this purpose KTCS has remained true.