In what was described as a pivotal moment for Christian education in South Africa when the newly-formed Federation of Christian Universities and Colleges (FCUC) was launched during a virtual meeting yesterday.
Representatives of Christian education and training institutions across the country who joined the meeting were urged to rally around the vision of the platform to unite the Church in reclaiming its influence in developing godly leaders in society.
A key goal of FCUC is to engage the government in a process which will see courses offered by church-backed Bible schools, colleges, and universities becoming recognised, accredited and an integral part of the skills development of SA, said Professor Mpho Mosoeu, national chairperson of FCUC in an interview yesterday.
He said Bible schools, colleges and universities are mushrooming — especially in previously disadvantaged areas — as churches respond to a great need for affordable tertiary education. However, although this sector offers training that is often on a par with national standards and accredited by international institutions, it is mostly excluded by SA national education policy.
Professor Mosoeu recalled yesterday how God began to nudge his heart during a meeting of academics from various church and ministry backgrounds some time before lockdown, where the main discussion was around the unity of the Church and its impact in society.
He said God began to show him gaps in the education, discipleship and training of believers that were preventing them from fulfilling their divine purpose in society. And the Lord opened his eyes to see that Christian education is the cornerstone for reestablishing education, training and skills development “that will take the Christian Church to the sharper end of real community issues and make an impact as God originally planned”.
“I also saw how fragmented Christian education is and how this is connected to the state of respect accorded to the Church and that it lacked voices in key academic technical skills — and that’s when the idea of a federation was planted.”
He said he began discussing the issue with Prof Mbulelo Dyasi who, during the month before lockdown, arranged for him to present the vision of a federation to the SA Bishops Council which he leads. The vision received support there and at various other Christian leadership forums.
He said educational and training institutions that subscribe to Christian values are the best hope for overcoming the substantial ethical leadership deficit in the nation. However, the leadership training offered in Bible schools “does not take us beyond the church walls”.
He said FCUC would like to address this problem by encouraging a few institutions which have a Christian ethos and excellent material for developing marketplace leaders to share their courses with Bible schools and colleges.
The longer-term vision is to promote the growth of institutions that are grounded in Christian values and which offer a broad range of courses to equip believers to excel and lead in all sectors of society.
“That creates the Josephs: Joseph was not only in the house, he went into Egypt and excelled there without losing his identity as a Hebrew — as a child of God,” Mosoeu said.
More information about FCUC and application forms to join the federation are available on the website www.fedofchristianuniversitiesandcolleges.com/