What is quality in theological education? A few points to ponder:
Other aspects to ponder include the components of quality such as goals and motives, as well as practical aspects such as accreditation. Additionally, consider the many spheres determining the quality of an institution such as the environment, lecturers, contents, processes and outcomes, and the students themselves.
Conducting self-assessment. The Bible encourages self-examination. For example, one can refer to Holy Communion before which one should evaluate oneself. Are you worthy for participating in the communion? The Bible also teaches that everyone is to count the cost before going to war or beginning to build a house. Likewise, Bible schools should also examine themselves.
To assess an institution’s quality requires much more than a look at classes, books, students, teachers or the curriculum. The assessment is rather how well one does in respect to the unique task with unique students. Should we not look more at the fruits and less at the qualifications?
There is a long list of questions to answer. Are the teachers/lecturers qualified? (right experience, teaching ability, continuous study, pastoral skills, good role models, etc.). Does the institution have the right students from an educational, emotional and social ability points of view? Are they willing, mature, spiritually gifted and called?
Next, is there a coherent, integrated and contextual programme? And does the institution have the physical and financial resources to make the programme work?
Quality cooperation. Is there a need for Bible colleges to work closer together and help each other with matters of facilities, curricula, quality or a joint voice to the authorities? At the Consultation this year it was remarked that there are numerous Bible colleges and schools all over Africa, a number of whom have good quality and are biblically reliable. But there are also some that are not there yet.
It is also a well-known fact that there is an enormous shortage of trained church leaders. Some say that approximately 90 % of churches have to do without. At the same time new churches are planted just about daily. Africa is shouting out for the need for well-trained and able pastors and other church leaders.
At the end of the Consultation, Dr Brian DeVries made the suggestion that we must consider ways to find greater cooperation on a more regular basis, helping each other in many aspects, all in line with certain delineated points of agreement.
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.