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Rwandan Government wants Religious Leaders with Degrees in Theology

Rwandan Government wants Religious Leaders with Degrees in Theology

By Godfrey Olukya
VOL African Correspondent
www.virtueonline.org
January 23, 2021

Church leaders in Rwanda must be graduates with degrees in theology, the government has ordered.

Rwandan universities have started offering degrees in theology, a step meant to help in educating future religious leaders in the country.

This has come after the government resolved that all religious leaders in the country must possess degrees in theology.

To that end two new private universities have opened in the Rwandan capital of Kilgali to produce graduates in theology responding to the pressure on churches and faith-based organizations to be led by degree holders.

According to University World News, the cabinet in Rwanda approved a ministerial order at a meeting in December 2020 granting the East African Christian College (EACC) and the Africa College of Theology permission to operate.

The two higher learning institutions received the green light to start operating two years after the government, through the Rwanda Governance Board, enacted the Faith-based organizations law requiring church leaders to hold a bachelor's degree in theology.

At the time, there was no higher education institution in the country offering a theology program.

Other than the Roman Catholic Church that requires priests and other clergy to have a suitable qualification, there has been no similar requirement in other denominations. As a consequence, many churches are headed by people with limited skills, except at top management level.

According to the law, all church and faith-based organizations should be led by theology graduates or else they will not be allowed to function. The law came into force to curb poor leadership in churches, according to the Rwanda Governance Board that regulates faith-based organizations.

Professor Viateur Ndikumana, the vice-chancellor of EACC, an Anglican Church institution, said the institution would offer theology courses starting in February to produce quality church leaders. Ndikumana holds a Ph.D. in theology.

EACC would be the first higher learning institution in Rwanda to offer a bachelor's degree in theology, starting with about 300 students in February 2021.

"We think that it is time to have theology courses offered locally. We used to travel abroad to study theology, now we believe our university will serve as a source of knowledge, not only to local people but also those from the region and beyond," he said.

Commenting on how the university will be able to offer theology to people from different backgrounds and beliefs, Ndikumana said theology is generally similar, but disciplines and doctrines may differ.

"We will have students from all beliefs and churches; we will also offer other related courses such as philosophy and sociology as well as pastoral care to make it more inclusive," he said.

END

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