Ever since I was young, the summer school movement was bigger than big. Summer School studies are now having a resurgence again. Some time ago I wrote in this column that the Sydney Morning Herald cited two HSC students attending a theatre “learning parts of the Legal Studies and English curricula before they return to school”.
These ''head start lectures'' are part of a booming industry of summer schools and holiday tuition for primary and high school students with 1000 students enrolled in summer school lectures with The School for Excellence, a private tuition institution which has “doubled its intake in three years.” The article stated that more than two-thirds of children enrolled in outside tutoring started at age 12 or younger, These figures were released by the Australian Tutoring Association.
Two years on, I can now report to you that this resurgence has retained its vigour and moreover, strange as it might appear, Summer Schools have been around as long as his memory serves and apply to university life as a normal part of their regular program.
My youngest undertook a Summer School at university a few years ago, in her situation, it was more of a catch up subject so as to conclude the undergraduate degree a little earlier than originally anticipated.
Moreover no major educational institution will run a summer school subject unless there are students to fill such classes, and that this is so, clearly indicates that the summer school situation continues to be well received by students at whatever level, be that schools or universities.
Examples of Summer Schools
I received for Christmas (at my request) the 1980's television drama of seven episodes “Fortunes of War” set in 1939-42, an English Language Summer School drama of English lecturers teaching English, initially set in Romania, then with the Nazi expansion relocated to Greece and with the fall of Greece, thence to Egypt.
It is not only at this secular level of education that summer schools function, there are many other variants of the summer school that have operated for hundreds of years.
Theological Seminaries and Bible Colleges have run summer schools for several hundred years and today. with on-line studies, these options have become even more advantageous. Missions run summer schools as part of their regular training programs. There are times when a summer school is run to meet a particular need. I recall that in the late 70's at Morling Seminary in Sydney there was an issue with the Greek examination and a summer school was run to remedy this technical problem.
I am aware of at least seven mission groups that run summer schools and who have done so for as long as his memory serves. Moreover I've read innumerable auto-biographies and biographies of missionaries who it seems had all attended a summer school, especially in language classes.
First hand summer school
I have conducted several Sports Ministry Summer Schools in the 1990's at 'Timeout in Moruya' a facility for Australian Institute of Sport elite athlete respite. The second week of January was set aside for this summer school with mature aged students attending from across the nation.
One particular sports ministry summer school culminated with a Night of Champions over a barbecue at one of the local churches where those athletes who attended gave their testimonies. These Night of Champions were hugely popular in the local community.
I recall on one of these summer schools former World IronMan runner-up Bruce Thomas attended the summer school and spoke at the Night of Champions and one of the attendees was a competitor. HE could hardly believe his fortune to meet the great Bruce Thomas and listened intently as Bruce spoke of his faith in Jesus Christ.
One of the missionary families that visited the Well-Being Australia Laguna Quays Respite in early January eighteen months ago were henceforth heading straight to their own summer school after their respite visit.
The summer school movement it seems remains alive and well.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children. Dr Tronson writes a daily article for Christian Today Australia (since 2008) and in November 2016 established Christian Today New Zealand. Dr Mark Tronson’s Press Service International in 2019 was awarded the Australasian Religious Press Association’s premier award, The Gutenberg. In September 2020 Summer Moore presented her commission portrait of Dr Mark Tronson holding the Gutenberg plaque. The above photo is the upper part from this portrait.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at: http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html