In the Old Testament, God repeatedly told Joshua to be strong and courageous. He also enabled Israel to do what He ordered them to do. In a way, the same applies to Mukhanyo. God has enabled Mukhanyo to be strong and courageous throughout 2019, and also through a very unique first half of 2020. And now the second semester of 2020 has started well in all five centres!
God’s provisions for Mukhanyo became clear from the annual report and the somewhat belated Annual General Meeting (AGM) which took place on 24 July, using the Zoom facility. The online format this year was an advantage; Mukhanyo’s member churches and friends could participate from many places: Canada, the United States, and the Netherlands, as well as churches all over South Africa.
The message of the principal, Dr Brian de Vries, was that regardless of challenges in 2019 and the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Mukhanyo has been able, by God’s grace, to overcome various obstacles and still extend ministry activities. Now the second semester is well underway with most centre-based modules offered again in contact mode and only a few online.
According to the Annual Report 2019, the total number of students for the first time surpassed one thousand. Other main features of 2019 include:
Regardless of various challenges, including the recent lockdown, Mukhanyo has been able to continue improving, although with some adjustments. These improvements include matters of academic quality and spiritual mentoring, material development outputs with more upgraded study guides and videos, additional modules and programmes, and the further expansion of supporting technology.
Given the COVID-19 pandemic, the College has much to be thankful for, especially committed staff, donors and students. Various technological improvements have become a part of everyday life, and they will certainly continue to be so after the pandemic.
Operationally, Mukhanyo is doing very well. The library is growing with another 15 000 new books this year. The new student information system (SIS) and learning management system (LMS) is being further expanded. Learning material is being improved and technology will be utilised to a greater degree, with mentoring as a point of focus going forward.
In respect of all the distance and regional centres, Mukhanyo has been increasingly decentralising its services. The pandemic is accelerating this process and will continue to do so. But as Dr Brian emphasised, technology will never replace lecturers or personal contact.
At the date of the AGM, only about 5% of students discontinued their studies (mostly COVID-19 related reasons) with all the others completing the first semester. But several new students joined at the beginning of the second semester. The budget was reduced by only 10% as a precautionary move, which was less than feared at first because donors were mainly able to continue their support.
Here are some interesting facts: