All education claims to dispense knowledge; however not all education professes to deal in both wisdom and understanding. The real difference between Christian education and ordinary schools is primarily going to be the character development of the child. Christian teachers approach the subject matter from a different point of view. They come from a basic understanding that God exists, that God has created and that God has left us with revelations. Christian education deals with the morals of the faith and influences students’ total behavior pattern. Christian education brings the biblical viewpoint to bear on every subject and activity in the school programme; it is Bible based and emphasizes Biblical Worldview, Spiritual Formation, knowledge as well as skills.
The boldest distinctive of Christian schooling ought to be in the declaring that it is in the business of extolling the wisdom of God as its highest priority; but God also invites us to master and enjoy the full panoply of human knowledge - every topic, every curiosity is available for us to discover, observe, examine, analyse, synthesis and evaluate. Christian schooling is more than excellence plus Bible. It is schooling centred in Jesus, whereby the curriculum is transfused with truth and Biblical values that are in conflict with the world. The significant end is its unique product – students who do not fit the world’s mold.
Christian schooling is not a refuge from the world - it is a resource for the world; it is about embracing and pursuing the mind of Christ. It is about pursuing the real understanding of what it means to be salt and light, about transforming by the renewing of the mind. It is about the development of fruitful bearers of the image of Christ. It is about preparing young people for the kingdom of heaven and the market place of ideas. It is about preparing young people to carry out the work of our Heavenly Father, partnering with Him in His great plan, rather than being content with hunkering down in a sheltered spiritual environment and simply attempting to ward off the attacks of those who relish the demise of godly thought, influence and leadership.
The overarching goal of ACSI in the global context is to lead our schools to greater effectiveness. It is our desire that Christian Schools in South Africa be viewed as essential within the Christian community as well as outside the Christian community and that they be recognized as contributing to the public good. To accomplish these matrices of effectiveness we must be seriously intentional about Christian education.
What would this mean?
Good is the enemy of great. We don’t have great schools, principally because we have good schools.” (Jim Collins – Good to great)
One of the characteristics of a great school is the continuous effort put into curriculum development. Christian schools can become GREAT schools when prioritizing Biblically integrated curriculum as an essential part of an effective school.
ACSI Member schools integrate our curriculum into God’s Word. The 4 pillars our education programmes are built upon are:
1. Knowledge/Intellectual Development - The Christian mind should be the best mind, being by the mind of Christ and having integrated God’s principles with academic pursuits. ACSI is serious about excellence in education and our schools achieve excellent PLE, UCE and UACE results.
2. Skills – Life, practical and soft skills that are essential for holistic growth of a complete person.
3. Biblical Worldview - Pre-suppositional framework that seeks to answer the basic questions of life.
4. Spiritual Formation - “Spiritual formation, without regard to any specifically religious context or tradition, is the process by which the human spirit is given a definite “form” or character.” Dallas Willard, 2002. Renovation of the Heart. NavPress, Colorado Springs.p19