Academic Recognition

Important information about the AETAL Academic Recognition Program

Part I

DEFINITIONS AND CLARIFICATIONS:

In the language of the educational environment of Latin America there is a common confusion between recognition and authorization. For many, being recognized means being a legal institution and authorized by the government authorities (Ministry of Education – MEC). The process of obtaining this authorization usually requires, for example, the delivery of a lot of documents and the possible visit of representatives of the government to verify the reality of documentation. Academic recognition has a different purpose than legal authorization before the authorities. The purpose is to publicly assure and prove the excellence of the education offered by the institution. Academic recognition fulfills this purpose through a self-evaluation of the Institution. This self-evaluation examines two things: 1. If the educational practice within the institution is fulfilling the mission, the educational philosophy and the objectives established by the Institution. [internal audit].This “internal audit” is probably the most important benefit of the recognition process. It offers the opportunity, with the guidance of a manual already prepared by the association, so that the authorities and the staff of the institution analyze in detail each aspect of the values, function and ministry of the institution. It is the basic step in developing and maintaining a strong and healthy institution. After this internal analysis, the institution would be ready to check whether the levels of courses offered by the institution correspond to the standards agreed by the institutions concerned. [external verification].

RECOGNITION SYSTEMS

In the current educational world there is a variety of external approval mechanisms for the titles offered by theological institutions. In turn, an institution can choose more than one of the following options:

Perform an external test. Students from all institutions prepare to take an exam at the end of the course, exam prepared by a national or international organization. This system has been used, for example, in Africa, where they have used English exams.

Approval by the sponsoring denomination of the institution. This recognition is internal, or limited, to the denomination. Usually the denominations have a network of institutions with a headquarters that controls the curriculum and validates the offered titles.

Relationship with an institution from another country. The institution is affiliated with, or is an extension of, an institution from another country which offers the title. This central institution controls the curriculum and grants the diplomas.

Formal agreement with a local university. The institution is affiliated with a local university granting the degree and / or recognizing the institution title.

Recognition by government authorities. For a variety of cultural and historical reasons many institutions in Latin America yearn for government recognition. They feel that they have been marginalized and neglected in the educational field by the policies of their environment. Recognition of government would mean to many that the educational efforts of evangelicals have value to the national community.

Recognition by an Association of peer institutions. In some parts of the world, governments legally recognize institutions, but do not really care to watch over their educational level. It is sometimes possible that government standards do not take into account areas that are important to theological institutions (eg, biblical knowledge and spiritual and ministerial formation).

Therefore, similar institutions at the regional or continental level form an association to recognize their titles. The association itself sets the standards for each level of education, striving for excellence according to the reality of the context and the requirements of the ministry. This is the case of AETAL (Evangelical Association of Theological Education in Latin America).

Part II

HOW DOES RECOGNITION WORK?

There are several steps and dimensions of the process:

1. Establish an association of institutions. To ensure the quality of education, the association agrees on the appropriate standards for the various academic levels. The association establishes realistic and constructive procedures to verify compliance with such standards.

2. Standards and procedures should be credible, both among members of the association and within the wider educational community (eg Ministry of Education and other contextual institutions).

3. The association’s institutions voluntarily submit themselves to established standards. The process of submitting to standards requires the self-evaluation of all areas of institutional life, according to the procedures required by the association.

As already mentioned in the “Important Information”, Part I, this step is the most important and the one that brings the greatest benefits. The institution must recognize the value of having the opportunity to analyze itself. This almost never happens due to daily pressures and obligations. Therefore, this process offers a unique opportunity in the life of the institution. This process has at the end the preparation of a formal report.

4. Association authorities send a visiting team to the institution. The staff evaluates the document, verifying that the institution actually meets the standards for the level of education for which it is seeking recognition. The team hands over the report of your visit to the association’s authorities and offers an opinion.

5. If the result is positive, the association publicly announces the extent of recognition of the institution.

6. The association shall continuously monitor recognized institutions, shall promote periodic reassessments in order to ensure the maintenance of educational quality.

It may be necessary to review established norms and standards, if the educational context deserves it.

KEY ELEMENTS FOR FUNCTIONING RECOGNITION

– Educational quality
– Educational credibility
– Interinstitutional cooperation

– In some parts of the world, governments legally recognize institutions, but they do not really care to watch over their educational level. It is sometimes possible that government standards do not take into account areas that are important to theological institutions (eg, biblical knowledge and spiritual and ministerial formation). That is why,

– The association itself establishes the standards for each level of education, seeking excellence according to the reality of the context and the requirements of the ministry. (Evangelical Association of Theological Education in Latin America)

– In some parts of the world, governments legally recognize institutions, but they do not really care to watch over their educational level. It is sometimes possible that government standards do not take into account areas that are important to theological institutions (eg, biblical knowledge and spiritual and ministerial formation). That is why, .

– The association itself establishes the standards for each level of education, seeking excellence according to the reality of the context and the requirements of the ministry. (Evangelical Association of Theological Education in Latin America)

Part III

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF AETAL RECOGNITION?

Offering the opportunity for a healthy and complete self-evaluation of the Institution is the greatest benefit.

The norms and guidelines can serve as a guide and guide for the development of the Institution. It facilitates cooperation between the institutions (eg transfer of appropriations between institutions on the basis of clear rules).

– It provides a serious credibility to the Church and the Christian community.
– Ensures the quality of education before the society to which the Institution serves.
– Connects the Institution to wider networks, such as AETAL (in Latin America) and ICETE (the Confederation of Continental Associations).

Periodic recognition encourages the maintenance of the quality of education offered.
WHAT ARE SOME POSSIBLE LIMITATIONS OF RECOGNITION?
It may not be the Institution’s most urgent need at any given time. In turn, the self-assessment process can help identify larger problems and some possible solutions. Some institutions do not seek external and public recognition.

This may be the case or the level of education offered or because the sponsoring entity (eg denomination) does not or does not see the importance of recognition for its churches and leaders.

It is important to recognize that Recognition is only an AETAL service. Ideally, the process would contribute to communion and cooperation among the member institutions.

Achieving Recognition should not be grounds for institutional pride because it aims to improve the preparation of leaders for the evangelical ministry, for the glory of the Lord.

Contact
Membership applications | General Service

Hedilene Ribeiro

Phone
19 3257-1200
19 98738-8008

Email atendimento@aetal.com