In our last Steps of Faith we announced that we were planning to start the BTh programme with Orientation for Students in June 2018 and the first courses following in July, August, and so forth. These plans were based on the fact that ESSA has finally been accredited for the BTh programme and only needed to now be registered as a Private Higher Education Institution with the Department of Higher Education. ESSA has submitted all relevant documents in 2014 and has kept them updated regularly since then (except 1). The only outstanding document was the “accreditation report” which we only received in November 2017 and submitted to DHET the next day.
However DHET only processed the document in 2018 by which time the Audited Financial Statements (2016) had become outdated. Several other documents (e.g. Tax Clearance Certificate) had become outdated as well since a new year had begun in January and had to be applied for anew. Also the “Regulations for the Registration of Private Higher Education Institutions” changed in 2016 which required the wording of some documents that refer to said regulations (e.g. Bank Surety Agreement) to be changed or updated and re-issued as well.
As you can imagine we have been frantically working on all these changes and updated documents. And yet … Banks do not wish to be pushed and Auditors take their time to do the audits on their own schedule. ESSA has done and submitted everything within our scope to get documents ready and submit them to DHET. But we’re still awaiting 2 crucial documents before we can submit everything to DHET and ask them for speedy processing.
As it is we will NOT be starting with courses in July 2018. We have given it much consideration and have moved the timetable according to, what we hope to be, realistic estimations. This means that we are currently anticipating the following schedule:
|25-27 Sep||Orientation for Students||ESSA Staff|
|01-04 Oct||APM 1: Academic Literacy||Johannes Klapprodt|
|15 – 19 Oct||COR 101: Study Skills and Research methods||Johannes Klapprodt|
|05 – 08 Nov||APM 2: Electronic Communication||tba|
|12 – 16 Nov||BIB 101: Survey of the Old Testament, pt 1||Dr. Riens de Haan|
|17 – 18 Nov||Spiritual Formation Weekend||tba|
|19 – 23 Nov||BIB 102: Survey of the Old Testament, pt 2||Dr. Riens de Haan|
All of the above is, of course, based on the assumption that DHET will process our application soon enough to matter.
One obvious question is: “Why not just begin in 2019 altogether?”. Our aim to start the programme in 2018 is to allow potential students the option of “testing” the block release mode. If a student wishes to begin the programme in 2018 s/he can see how the model fits before committing to a full year of studies. If it doesn’t fit the student still has the option of applying at a different institution for 2019 and didn’t “waste” a full year.
Students will be expected to participate in the offered Academic Preparation Modules (APM’s) to ensure their academic readiness for this programme.