The history of Nazarene education in India and South Asia has been marked with numerous attempts at finding the ‘right mix’ of curriculum, offered in prevalent languages, to varied constituencies.
Nazarene Bible College of India was for many years located in Washim, Maharashtra State, near Reynolds Memorial Hospital (a close sister institution within the Nazarene mission), and provided certificate level education for pastoral candidates in the Marathi language. In 1962, NBC-India began to train young men and women for further studies at South India Biblical Seminary in Bangarapet (an English-medium school in which the Church of the Nazarene partners with World Gospel Mission and Immanuel General Mission-Japan), in order to prepare them for a teaching ministry at NBC-India or district leadership as pastors.
NBC-India served as the primary ministerial education provider in India for nearly 70 years. However, when the work in South Asia began to explode with growth, and the South Asia Countries became part of the educational remit of the Church, the limitations of this programme in Washim became obvious. The school was placed into ‘transition’ in order to re-create a more appropriate educational model for the new challenges facing the South Asia Field.
The ‘transition committee’, charged with the development of a new model of education, explored many options for training already in existence in India and South Asia. There were extension education models, related to residential campus-based schools and seminaries, as well as correspondence education provided through ‘distance’ relationship with non-campus-based agencies. It was determined that the best approach for Nazarene education in these two Fields, given the diversity and complexity of both India and South Asia, was a de-centralised, non-campus-based enterprise that would serve all of the countries of India and South Asia and their major language groups.
The work of ‘transition’ involved the creation of a new curriculum that would comply with Manual requirements for ordination, which would be written by Indians and South Asians with specific attention given to both content and context. Faculty needs had to be addressed for the expanding work. College infrastructures and protocols had to be developed in order to function in a non-residential mode. The school that emerged became known as South Asia Nazarene Bible College, to reflect the multi-faceted Field that it serves. SANBC has now been officially registered in Bangalore, Karnataka State.