A framework for curriculum development in theological institutions of the network for African Congregational theology

Du Preez, Kruger Phillippus (2013-03)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2013.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The Network for African Congregational Theology (NetACT) is a network of theological institutions of higher education in sub-Saharan Africa that are dogmatically Reformed by tradition. It was established that there is a need for more knowledge on the science of curriculum development and a need for an integrated value-driven curriculum framework that will have Reformed principles imbedded in it and that will be contextualised. Through questionnaires and curriculum development workshops, the situations at the different campuses of ten institutions were established. On the campuses of the NetACT institutions a positive learning environment prevails with enthusiastic lecturers and motivated students. The practical work of students in congregations is a high priority. On the other side of the coin, it was established that some key elements are missing – among them, a lack of integrated, value-driven, missional and contextualised curricula. Given the situation in sub-Saharan Africa, one should expect more emphasis on the prevailing poverty, on sensitive gender issues and on youth and children work, to mention a few. Libraries are ill stocked and research by lecturers and the publishing of articles are nearly non-existent. This dissertation addresses these needs by proposing a Reformational, missional and contextualised curriculum framework with as its main aim the development of mature students who will deliver academic work of the highest order. In Chapter 3, the need for an integrated worldview is argued for with Reformed principles such as Christ’s sovereignty in every sphere of life – no dualism between a so-called sacred and profane world should exist. In Chapter 4, an appeal is made to NetACT institutions to be missional by nature and to have a curriculum evaluation to see whether all the subjects have a missional focus. Contextualisation is the theme of Chapter 5 and, among others, a plea is made for curricula to portray true African reconciliation spirituality where worship, anti-racism and anti-tribalism should be an integral part of the official and hidden curricula. Based on these building blocks, a Reformational, African and contextual framework is presented in Chapter 6 with the help of a Transformative Circle that starts with listening to the narratives of the students and ends with a transformative action phase where educational principles are applied. The recommendations in Chapter 7 include the forming of quality control committees, the initiation of workshops on the facilitating process of curriculum design and implementation, the need to be accredited with ACTEA and the considering of the forming of institutes of Christian Higher Education.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die Network for African Congregational Theology (NetACT) is 'n netwerk van hoër onderwys teologiese instellings van Gereformeerde oorsprong in sub-Sahara Afrika. Daar is vasgestel dat daar 'n behoefte bestaan by die NetACT instellings aan meer kennis oor die wetenskap van kurrikulumontwikkeling asook 'n behoefte aan 'n geïntegreerde, waardegedrewe kurrikulumraamwerk wat gebou is op Gereformeerde waardes en wat terselfdertyd ook gekontekstualiseerd is. Deur middel van vraelyste en kurrikulumontwikkeling werkswinkels, is die situasie by die verskillende kampusse van tien teologiese instellings bepaal. Op die kampusse van die NetACT instellings heers daar in die algemeen 'n positiewe leeromgewing met entoesiastiese dosente en gemotiveerde studente. Die praktiese werk van studente in gemeentes is 'n hoë prioriteit. Aan die ander kant is vasgestel dat belangrike elemente ontbreek: onder andere 'n gebrek aan geïntegreerde, waardegedrewe, missionale en gekontekstualiseerde kurrikulums. Gegewe die situasie in sub-Sahara Afrika, sou mens meer klem by die NetACT skole verwag het om sake soos die heersende armoede, sensitiewe geslagskwessies en die opvoeding van kinders en die jeug, om maar 'n paar te noem, aan te spreek. Biblioteke het baie gebrekkige voorraad en navorsing deur dosente en die publikasie van artikels bestaan bykans nie. Hierdie verhandeling fokus op hierdie behoeftes en spreek dit aan deur die stel van 'n Reformatoriese, missionale en gekontekstualiseerde kurrikulumraamwerk. Die raamwerk het as hoofdoel die ontwikkeling van geestelike volwassenheid by studente wat akademiese werk van die hoogste standaard sal lewer. In Hoofstuk 3 word die behoefte aan 'n geïntegreerde wêreldbeeld beredeneer met die Gereformeerde beginsel van Christus se soewereiniteit in elke sfeer van die lewe, as ʼn belangrike wegspringpunt. Een gevolgtrekking wat hieruit gemaak kan word, is dat daar geen dualisme behoort te bestaan tussen 'n sogenaamde “heilige” en “profane” wêreld nie. In Hoofstuk 4 word 'n beroep op NetACT instellings gedoen om missionaal van huis uit te wees en om te kontroleer of al die vakke 'n missionêre gerigtheid het. Kontekstualisering is die tema van Hoofstuk 5 en, onder andere, word 'n pleidooi gelewer vir kurrikulums met ʼn ware Afrika versoening spiritualiteit waar aanbidding, anti-rassisme en anti-stamgebondenheid 'n integrale deel van die amptelike en verborge kurrikulums behoort te vorm. Gebaseer op hierdie boustene, word 'n Reformatoriese Afrika en missionale raamwerk voorgestel met die hulp van 'n Transformerende Sirkel wat begin met die luister na die verhale van die studente en eindig met 'n transformerende aksie fase waar opvoedkundige beginsels, soos veral in Hoofstuk 6 beredeneer, prakties toegepas word. Die aanbevelings in Hoofstuk 7 sluit in die vorming van gehaltebeheerkomitees, die inisiëring van werkswinkels oor die fasilitering van kurrikulumontwerp en -implementering, akkreditasie by ACTEA en die oorweging van die vorming van inrigtings vir Christelike Hoër Onderwys.

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