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South Africa visitors glean information from OACS members

Written on March 10th, 2008

[caption id=”attachment_3412” align=”aligncenter” width=”300”]bannerFS Julia Smit and Matthew Kralt, Covenant Christian School students, and principal Sid Bakker (right) present a banner to principal of Theocentric Christian College Wilson Mandende that symbolizes the partnership between South Africa and Canada.[/caption]

Goal to set up South Africa Christian teacher training institute in 2009

Three visitors from South Africa met with OACS members last week to share their vision, seek knowledge and create partners in their quest to build a Christian teacher training institute.

Principal of Theocentric Christian College Wilson Mandende, chairman of Theocentric’s board Sammy Mamapfha and professor at North-west University (Potchefstroom Campus) Derrick Mashau hope to open the South African training institute in 2009.

“At this stage we are having many Christian schools mushrooming in South Africa but the main problem is few teachers having received training from a Christian perspective,” says Mashau.

There are over 2,000 Christian schools in South Africa. “Many parents these days prefer to send their children to Christian schools,” he says, adding there are often problems in public schools.

“We thought if we are serious about quality in Christian schooling then we must definitely start with a teacher’s training college, and that is why we are here, to share the vision with our brothers and sisters here and also to sort of negotiate partnerships with (Christian) institutions,” he says. He hopes his visit encourages professors to teach at the training institute.

Covenant Christian School and Smithville Christian District High School have been partners with Theocentric for several years. The schools work through the organization Worldwide Christian Schools to contribute supplies and visit Theocentric.

Mandende, Mamapfha and Mashau visited the schools during their stay to observe how the Christian faith is integrated into studies.

“They came in the classroom to see how the Christian perspective was integrated into the learning, and we had an impromptu assembly, and we presented them with a banner,” says Covenant Christian School teacher Diana Brunsveld.

Redeemer University College hosted a South Africa Conference March 4 and 5, where the visitors were able to discuss their ideas and questions. In attendance were representatives from the Institute of Christian Studies, Redeemer University College, Calvin College, OACS, Ontario Christian School Teachers Association (OCSTA), Worldwide Christian Schools and a number of other interested individuals.

The group of about 25 people looked at the drafted constitution and brainstormed ideas for the training institute. Areas covered included governance, development and funding, academics and faculties.

Fred Breukelman, a teacher at Smithville Christian District High School, visited Theocentric in 2006. Breukelman says the conference gave the men a lot of ideas to think about.

He says South Africans do a good job of making their visions into reality. “They have a real passion for following through,” he says.

You can learn more about projects like this one by visiting the Worldwide Christian Schools website.