WHAT IS ENDORSEMENT AND ACCREDITATION?
ATTS encourages the process of endorsement and accreditation through the services of the Association for Pentecostal Theological Education in Africa (APTEA). Endorsement and accreditation mean that a school has gone through a thorough self-study process, has had a site team visit, and has received approval from the team on the school’s progress. This process verifies that the institution is guided by well-defined and appropriate objectives to fulfill its mission and has established conditions and procedures whereby (1) its mission can be realized; (2) it is accomplishing its goals meaningfully; and (3) it will continue to do so. APTEA’s concept of school endorsement and/or accreditation is that a school is substantially meeting or in the process of meeting APTEA standards.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF ENDORSEMENT OR ACCREDITATION?
The status of either endorsement or accreditation includes increased credibility, ease of transfer of credit, assurance of quality control, and networking with other Assemblies of God institutions.
Increased credibility. Today many governments are critically assessing church-based schools. Often government educational departments close religious schools or restrict them from offering diplomas or degree because the school cannot prove it can meet the required academic standards. At the same time, students want to be confident that the school they attend is maintaining high academic standards. The approval by APTEA often gives a school credible standing with government agencies and students. In addition, APTEA schools that apply for governmental recognition find that the APTEA self-study is foundational and helpful to their application with the government.
Ease of transfer between institutions. Today’s students tend to be more mobile than those of a generation ago. It has become common for students to transfer from one school to another, and the receiving school needs to be able to evaluate the academic credits of an incoming student. With APTEA membership, it is easy for schools to determine the level and quality of transfer credits. Similarly, when students want to move up to a higher degree at another institution, endorsement and accreditation facilitate this process by validating the level and rigor of prior training.
Quality assurance. The APTEA self-study required for endorsement/accreditation provides a clear, realistic, and comprehensive look at all areas of the institution’s programs as perceived by its administrators, faculty, staff, students, and community. The result is often a radical increase in the institution’s quality of training. In addition, the feedback from the on-site review promotes increased effectiveness in teaching, administration, and process.
Networking with other AG schools. ATTS represents schools linked to the members of the Alliance of Assemblies of God in Africa (AAGA). We encourage Bible school leadership to network with APTEA in order to strengthen the bonds between AG schools across the continent. We also see great value in the networking of educators from multiple Pentecostal movements that share our Pentecostal perspective on training.
WHAT is the difference between ENDORSEMENT AND ACCREDITATION?
Accreditation includes some rigid international requirements. Accreditation verifies that an institution meets international standards and its academic credit is worthy to be accepted by schools anywhere in the world—including in their own country. There are, however, many requirements to reach this level that may not directly impact the quality of training and may require resources some schools simply do not have. These include large and current libraries, a current and substantial collection of journals, a percentage of full-time faculty, extensive facilities, and level-appropriate textbooks.
Endorsement allows for flexibility on non-essential requirements. APTEA realizes that many institutions are effectively achieving their mission goals, but because of a limitation of finances or resources in their language of instruction, they may not be able to meet all the criteria necessary for accreditation. Other schools may not have had enough graduations to qualify for accreditation or may need time to meet all ten standards. Still others only offer a certificate or diploma, and a school must offer degrees to be accredited by APTEA. For schools like these that are in the process of meeting standards, or are not able to meet some of the international requirements, the answer is endorsement.
Endorsement and accreditation are based on the same standards. The endorsement process is similar to the self-study for accreditation. No school is endorsed or accredited without assessment in all ten areas (standards) required in the self-study. However, where a requirement is impossible, APTEA will not require the school to “to make bricks without straw.” If a school has met the fundamental requirements but lacks resources to meet international requirements, it can be endorsed by APTEA. APTEA suggests that new member schools be endorsed for at least five years before they apply for accreditation.
For more information about the process and nature of endorsement and/or accreditation, you can access the APTEA standards by visiting the APTEA website at www.theaptea.org.