We believe that every student should be permitted and encouraged to rise as high in the educational systems of SANBC as he/she can. Our entry-level is the 12th Standard, which is required by the government for entry into college/university. However, we do have some students, called into ministry late in life, who did not achieve 12th Standard during their formal education. Students may apply who have not achieved this standard, depending upon their age and experience, and depending upon varied national standards across India and South Asia Fields. In such cases, the student is accepted into SANBC in a probationary relationship and is permitted to pursue the SANBC Course of Study as far as they are able.
To facilitate these contextual standards, SANBC has ordered its curriculum in three ‘tracks’ of course offerings. Track ONE is comprised of seven introductory-level courses, which provides a Certificate of Lay Ministry. Track TWO is comprised of seven intermediate-level courses, which provides a Certificate in Christian Ministry. Track THREE is comprised of eleven advanced level courses, which provides a Diploma in Pastoral Ministry. (Diploma in Theology – ATA suggests, based upon its validation courses of study that SANBC change the name of the qualification to ‘Diploma in Theology’ instead of ‘Diploma In Pastoral Ministry’. They argue that the courses offered by SANBC are more ‘theological’ in nature than focused on ‘pastoral ministry’. No student may pass from one ‘track’ into another without successful completion of all the required elements of the ‘track’ in which they are engaged. Only those students, who have successfully progressed through all three ‘tracks’, and have completed all Course of Study requirements, are eligible for ordination.
SANBC continues to be committed to delivering its Course of Study to the students, wherever they may be, rather than demanding the students take up a residential programme of ministerial preparation. This implies the following
- This makes it possible for the student to remain engaged in the ministries of the local church, which acts as a partner in the educational process.
- The local pastor is engaged in an ongoing mentoring relationship with students.
- Knowledge and skills are tested locally and in a timely manner.
- Mature students (with families) are not separated from their families, or their work, while they study.
- The financial resources of students are not exhausted as they pursue their education in a non-residential programme.
- The budgets of SANBC can be more fully invested in the ministerial preparation of students, rather than in supporting/maintaining campus infrastructures.
- The complexity of multi-language needs is addressed in vernacular delivery of courses.
- SANBC must develop a large number of qualified teachers, in many languages, who are local/available to the students enrolled in the programme.
- Teachers are academically qualified, but are also practically engaged and sensitive to the dynamics of the students’ context.
- Teachers are themselves bi-vocational, with many of them engaged in pastoral and leadership ministries, making it possible for them to relate to students who will need to be bi-vocational also.
- SANBC is seen in South Asia as an education provider without walls, but with many classrooms. SANBC is wherever courses are taught, and students gather to learn.
- SANBC is committed to the view that learning occurs in directed and undirected fashion, and therefore expects students to participate in informal education outside of the classroom and assignments given by the teacher.
- This contributes to the philosophy and mission of SANBC to create ‘learning environments’ that transform and expand the Church in South Asia.
Contextualisation is extremely important in South Asia. The EURASIA Regional Sourcebook requires that every course demonstrate how the 4 C’s, as presented in the International Sourcebook on Minimal Standards, are incorporated. The 4 C’s are: Content, Competency, Character, and Context. The following section fully describes each course and how the 4 C’s are distributed.
Description of Courses and Distribution of the 4 C’s
The progression and coherence of the SANBC Course of Study may be seen in the following table. Track ONE introduces the student to course material that is a necessary foundation for Track TWO. However, should the student not be able to progress beyond Track ONE, a Certificate of Lay Ministry is presented at the assembly on the district where he/she holds local church membership and a local ministerial license.
Track TWO builds upon the course materials and learning of Track ONE, and prepares the student to progress to Track THREE. Should the student not be able to progress beyond Track TWO, a Certificate in Christian Ministry is presented at the assembly on the district where he/she holds local church membership and a district ministerial license.
Track THREE builds upon the course materials and learning of Tracks ONE and TWO, and prepares the student for graduation from the Course of Study. Upon completion of Track THREE, a Diploma in Theology (Diploma in Pastoral Ministry ) is awarded. The graduate continues to hold a district license until such time as the District Board of Ministry recommends his/her ordination to the district assembly and responsible General Superintendent.