In January, we reported to you about an urgent situation facing our partner Vision Indonesia 1:1:1 which operates a large seminary network, the Evangelical Theological Seminary of Indonesia (ETSI). New laws were passed in Indonesia in 2005 stating that no school or seminary would be allowed to operate unless it received accreditation by the National Accreditation Body (abbreviated as BAN in Indonesia) before May 2012. Failing to do so would make the school illegal, subject to heavy penalties, and forced to close. Here, Vision Indonesia 1:1:1’s founder and current President, Dr. Chris Marantika, shares an update on the accreditation process.
"The first and foremost requirement for accreditation status is an operating permit. As of September of last year, 11 ETSI branches had received their operating permits, while two others, Samarinda and Lombok, were preparing to go through the process. By the end of 2011, ETSI-Lombok received its operating permit. ETSI-Samarinda has submitted the requirements but has not received its permit yet. We hope this will come soon. Two of the smaller ETSIs, namely Kupang and Madiun, have not yet started the process.
"In the meantime, 10 of the more developed ETSI branches, namely those in Medan, Batam, Jakarta, Purwokerto, Yogyakarta, Surabaya, Bali, Pontianak, Ambon, and Palu have succeeded in beating the deadline and submitted their accreditation documents. We are now waiting for the verdict from BAN, which normally will be preceded by a site visit from BAN personnel to verify the data that was submitted.
"You may be wondering what will happen to the other ETSIs which haven’t submitted their accreditation documents on time. Well, we are wondering the same thing! Over the past year, the government has been sending us warnings that they will be forced to close down all educational institutions that are not accredited. We have recently heard, however, that more than half of all the bachelor degree programs in the whole country (numbering thousands) have not been accredited. The main reason is the acute lack of human resources at BAN to do the gargantuan task. It will take years before BAN can clear the existing applications, let alone handle the constant flow of new ones applying to renew their five-year accreditation status.
"We are now hearing that the government is trying to modify the regulation to avoid having to close thousands of academic programs, a move that would certainly cause a crisis in the country. One of the options on the table is to grant “automatic accreditation” for institutions that have received their operating permits. Another option is to allow new accreditation bodies to be formed. In the meantime, BAN continues to accept accreditation documents even though the deadline has come and gone.
"With this new development we are hopeful and prayerful that all our ETSI branches will ultimately receive accreditation status so that we can continue with ourprogram to train pastors and to promote Vision Indonesia 1:1:1 (one church in every one village of Indonesia in one generation.) Please keep praying with us!"