Is the quality of teaching in your Bible college up to Biblical standards, in line with the need of churches and also to the satisfaction of the accreditation authorities? This was not an easy question to answer for the forty plus Bible colleges and some hundred delegates attending Mukhanyo’s ninth Bible College Consultation, held in Pretoria from 11 to 13 June.
The participating institutions came from ten different African countries, as far north as Uganda. Each country has its own rules and regulations in respect to education and training. Levels of quality differ. Needs differ. The capacity of colleges and their lecturers differ. These factors make it difficult to define how quality should be promoted in the practical situation of each college, university or seminary that is teaching church leaders.
The first question to be answered was how quality – especially in theological education – should be defined. It is not as easy and straightforward as it seems. Dr Brian DeVries, principal of Mukhanyo, opened the event for the week and laid a biblical foundation for understanding and promoting quality.
The next question was about what a quality lecturer is and how he could grow in his calling. This matter was addressed by Dr Conrad Mbewe, who is presently involved in the establishment of the African Christian University in Zambia. He also addressed the all-important underlying issue of worldviews.
If one knows what quality is, how do you determine or assess the quality of your institution? There is a long list of self-assessment questions to attempt this, as explained by the experienced Dr Steve Hardy, who has been a missionary educator in more than six countries for close to half a century. He also addressed the matter of the governance, management and administration of institutions, as well as the question of how to transform the teaching of colleges.
The next topics on the theme were about a quality curriculum and a quality learning environment. The curriculum part was addressed by Dr Richard Seed, a consultant for a number of theological colleges in several African states. Then the learning part was discussed by Prof Rantoa Letsosa, acting dean of the Faculty of Theology and Religion of the University of the Free State.
What should be the quality outcomes? Are they what the local church requires? It has to be seen in context, which was addressed by Dr Victor Nakah who has for many years been teaching, preaching and managing various institutions in a number of countries in Africa.
The Consultation also held a number of workshops and cohort discussions on all the relevant subjects. Workshops discussed matters such as partnerships between colleges, confronting unbiblical philosophies, the needs of today’s churches, missional excellence, the problem of plagiarism, and governmental accreditation.
Further info available: The main topics and presentations can be downloaded for free from Mukhanyo’s website: https://www.mukhanyo.ac.za/sermons.html. Papers and PowerPoint presentations are also available upon request from Wynie Malan, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note: The tentative dates for next year’s Bible College Consultation are 9-11 June 2020.