African Christian College is praying “God’s will be done” as it seeks a directional vision for its future. We are clear on our mission and our goals: we are a higher learning institution focused on equipping African students for excellent service in God’s kingdom. Our mission and goals, however, can be accomplished in many different ways.
We’re introducing a series of possibilities to help us imagine a God-led vision for the future of our beloved school. We hope this will start conversation, sharing of ideas and feedback, and lead us to a clearer picture of what the future of African Christian College could be.
Below is another model — Study@Home Christian University. Please, don’t get distracted by its name (we’re not proposing that as the actual name), it’s there to be descriptive and distinguish it from other models we’ll be presenting. This model integrates face-to-face and online learning and proposes creating a network of learning centres as part of the university.
Please, take a moment to read this model and then, please share your feedback with us!
Study@Home Christian University is headquartered Tubungu, eSwatini and is an accredited higher learning institution with quality educational experiences for African women and men. Its primary goal is to equip students for excellent service in God’s kingdom and to instil in them Christian character, servant leadership, global awareness, and personal resourcefulness.
At one point, it had a residential campus at its headquarters in eSwatini. But in order to reach more students in more places across Africa with quality, Christian higher education, Study@Home Christian University opened up regional centres and hubs across Sub-Saharan Africa to offer classes to students near their homes. This reduced costs for both the college and students.
The University opened regional hubs in Tshwane, South Africa; Nairobi, Kenya; and Lusaka, Zambia. These regional hubs coordinated smaller centres in the areas including study centres in Harare, Lilongwe, Kampala, and Gabarone. Of course, the original campus and headquarters in eSwatini also served as a study centre for the university.
Study@Home Christian University focuses beyond teaching facts and skills — but upon character transformation. It seeks to form Christian people and ethical leaders in a variety of faculties and disciplines. As its name suggests, Study@Home, values the student’s community and how the best learning occurs through the lens of relationships and culture. With this value in mind, the University is organised for integrated study of online and face-to-face learning.
Ashura, Vimbo, and Nolwazi are all students at Study@Home Christian University. Though they are each pursuing different fields of study and career paths, they all chose Study@Home Christian University because they wanted to grow in their faith and understanding of God’s Word, so they could serve God through their work, families, and lives.
Ashura lives in Nariobi and is studying to be a minister. He wanted the best theological education possible to prepare him for ministry. So, naturally, he chose Study@Home Christian University. It also allowed him to remain active in his local congregation as he studied. He found this to be a blessing because his learning is immediately applicable to his context and life in the urban area of Nairobi. He doesn’t wait to put what he’s learning into practice — he begins it immediately. It is blessing his church and because of the practical application, Ashura is growing and learning.
One week each month, Ashura is in class at the learning centre in Nairobi. These intensive classes pack a lot of information in five long days. A lecturer from the University comes in from different places throughout Africa and the world to teach the course. He enjoys the classes with a familiar lecturer he has had before, but also really enjoys learning from new people.
The week long intensive is only one part of the course. But it’s definitely Ashura’s favourite part. He likes the week in class because of the interaction with other students and the lecturer as well as the daily Chapel services during class week.
The week or so before class starts, Ashura and the students have assignments to do to prepare for class. Sometimes its readings or a paper, other times its research or projects to explore the topic before getting into with the class. The two weeks or so following the class week, the students have additional assignments and projects to complete for the course. But this is facilitated as an online component to the course. They’re not just left to figure it out alone, but the learning is organised using the best in online teaching and students remain connected together and with the lecturer throughout the course.
Ashura is fortunate to live near a regional hub for the university. Because of this, he frequently goes to the learning centre to use the wifi and talk with others who are at the centre during the weeks when he isn’t supposed to be in the classroom. One day each week, the centre hosts a Chapel service which draws a lot of students from the university to the centre for worship and fellowship. The centre also has a chaplain, counsellor, and academic support people to help students with whatever problems they are having – not just academically, but personally and spiritually. The centre builds a great community among students who can get their frequently while also serving as a place of connection for those who just come for one week each month.
Vimbo is not from Harare, but she has found work and a place to stay in the city. She is studying Information Technology at Study@Home Christian University. She is a whiz on the computer and with code and is often found helping others and creating new ideas with technology.
She loves her lecturers, fellow students, and being at the learning centre in Harare. Though she works most days, she spends most evenings at the centre studying, hanging out, and trying new things with her learning. She really enjoys the night each week when they have the Chapel service because so many students come to praise the Lord.
Vimbo appreciates how the university has balanced online learning with face-to-face learning. The online resources and quality of the learning experience both in the classroom and online are extraordinary – she knows because she tried an online programme at another university before she enrolled at Study@Home.
She also loves that she gets to study theology and other disciplines besides just Information Technology. She sees how valuable the broader learning is for her life, her faith, and even for her work with computers.
Nolwazi lives in Mpumalanga, South Africa. She’s about two hours from the nearest learning centre. That means she doesn’t get to enjoy being at the centre as often as others, so she really values the week in class. But, her location also offers her some options. Sometimes she travels over to the learning centre in Tshwane to take her class – and certainly whenever she’s in the area, she visits the centre to meet with the staff and other students. But because it’s about the same distance to the learning centre in eSwatini, Nolwazi often chooses to take her weeklong class there instead. Because of this, her connections with students at Study@Home are broader than most – though any student can take classes at any centre.
Nolwazi is studying counselling. She can practice a lot of what she is learning and complete her practicals in her home area – which continues to prove to be valuable. As she is learning, she is also using her knowledge to teach her friends, family, and even some others at her church who recognise their need to develop more counselling skills.
Study@Home Christian University seeks to integrate the best of face-to-face learning and online learning into a low-cost, high quality, and geographically accessible solution for higher education in Africa. All with a commitment to its Christian foundation and preparing Christian women and men across Africa.
The important questions are:
- How could this model help us to accomplish our mission ‘glorify God by equipping students for excellent service in God’s kingdom‘?
- How could this model help us accomplish our Ends priorities of (1) academic excellence, (2) Christian character, (3) servant leadership, (4) global awareness, and (5) personal resourcefulness?
- What part of this should be part of African Christian College’s future?
Feedback from our alumni, students, faculty, staff, board, and other stakeholders is very important to us in this process! We want to hear from you. Tell us what you like, what you don’t like, and whether this sounds like a vision that would honour God and be worth pursuing for the future of African Christian College.
Or share your feedback through WhatsApp at +268.7860.5889