A common charter reflecting the essential elements of quality in theological education for colleges of all denominational backgrounds was proposed recently by representatives of the World Conference of Associations of Theological Institutions (WOCATI) at a meeting in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Last month (July 2011) 38 representatives of Protestant, Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Evangelical, Pentecostal and African Independent Churches gathered for the first time in Africa to discuss issues of quality in theological education on a global level.
The conference was entitled 'Challenges and Promises of Quality Assurance in Theological Education: Ecumenical and Multi-Contextual Inquiries.'
The participants emphasised the strategic importance of African associations of theological schools and the work of the All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC) and other ecumenical bodies in enhancing theological education in Africa.
Although there is no global agency to accredit institutions of theological education with similar standards around the world, participants recognised the need to develop some common understanding between all Christian institutions of theological education on what constitutes quality assurance and enhancement in theological education.
The group said that a balanced concept of quality in theological education should include academic proficiency, spiritual formation and pastoral competencies and that multiple forms of oppression and discrimination based on gender, race, ethnicity, colour, class, caste, ability, sexuality and religion should be explicitly addressed in the quality standards applied in various contexts.
It was agreed that these criteria could be reflected in a common charter which could be shared with associations of theological schools from all denominational backgrounds.
During the meeting the group expressed gratitude for the support and continued accompaniment of the World Council of Churches (WCC) Ecumenical Theological Education programme and recommended that WOCATI representatives be included among the delegates at the next WCC Assembly in 2013 and in the future working structures of the WCC.
Academic presentations and lectures that were presented from the different regions and associations of theological schools and denominational networks will be made available soon on WOCATI’s website.
* WOCATI: http://wocati.oikoumene.org/