NETS was established in 1991 (shortly after Namibian Independence) by a merger of two theological institutions: Windhoek Theological Seminary (WTS) and Windhoek Evangelical Bible College (WEBCol). The Protestant Unity Church and the Evangelical Bible Church (EBC) were also involved. With so many churches represented in Namibia, there arose the need for one institution offering quality theological education – across the denominational spectrum – to achieve evangelical unity. Since that time NETS has offered ministry and theological training on Certificate, Diploma and Degree levels. NETS serves 16 different local Christian denominations as well as para-church organisations by training their people for ministry.
- 1992: Five full-time lecturers (Dr Gerhard Buys (founding principal and former principal of WTS), Johan de Koning (WTS), Graham Naudé (WEBCol), Hawtrey Judd (WEBCol) and Werner Kauuova (EBC) – and 6 students (studying for a 3-year Diploma in theology). That year 14 students graduated. They started their studies at the founding institutions, but completed their final year at newly-founded NETS.
- 1993: NETS was registered with the government as a Private College and allowed to offer certificates, diplomas and degrees in theology.
- 1996: NETS trained 17 full-time Diploma students.
- 1997: A three-year degree program is introduced.
- 1999: A four-year program is launched and accredited by Potchefstroom University.
- 2000: NETS has 23 full-time residential students.
- 2003: The first BTh degrees are awarded. 31 students are enrolled. Rev. Martin Khoaseb becomes the first Namibian principal.
- 2007: NETS graduates become full-time or part-time lecturers at NETS; 60 % of all courses are taught by Namibians.
- 2010: NETS achieves accreditation with the Namibia Qualifications Authority for the first time, enabling students to do post-graduate studies in institutions in and outside of Namibia!
- 2010: Opening of the NETS Library and Resource Centre by the Hon. Minister of Education Dr. Abraham Iyambo.
Department of Distance Education (DDE)
NETS’ involvement with distance education began in the early 1990s when Michelle Naudé, wife of NETS lecturer Graham Naudé, started teaching Text Africa to students from the Evangelical Bible Church in Katatura and Oruuano Church, in partnership with Bishop Kamburona.
It became apparent that many people wanted theological training but could not afford to study full-time in Windhoek. Thus, in 1995, Dutch mission agency Gereformeerde Zending Bond sent Rev Johan Breure to establish a distance department, later called the Department of Distance Education. In 1996 DDE adopted the Nehemiah Bible Institute Basic Course for Church Leaders, and called it the Certificate in Christian Leadership. Already available in English and Afrikaans, it was translated into Otjherero and Oshiwambo.
In 1997, a Burundian NETS student, Pascal Hakizimana, prompted an outreach into prisons, with the result that DDE began offering the course behind bars. This ministry has continued to grow, thanks to overseas sponsorship, and today prisoners constitute a significant number of NETS students.
In 2003 Sebastian van Rensburg took up the position of coordinator, to promote the DDE courses around the country. He was later assisted by Rev David Greeff, who was sent by the Church Missionary Society, to be the coordinator for the northern regions. Director Kees van Dam (appointed in 2003) was given the brief to make NETS’ tertiary residential courses accessible by distance. DDE continues to flourish under the directorship of Rev Willem-Henri den Hartog.
2010 saw the appointment of our first Distance Coordinators: Revs Tuhafeni Hailonga, Brenden Jeke and Tuundjakuye Tjijenda. Today, we have six coordinators and most regional capitals have regular face-to-face learning centres of DDE students.
Since its inception, more than 300 student have graduated from NETS DDE. To date over 1,000 students have enrolled in the NETS distance programs around the country. If you can’t come to NETS, NETS will come to you!
Giving Thanks & Looking Forward
NETS has a broad vision – to reach and teach church leaders within and outside of Namibia. To that end, NETS has trained students from Angola, Australia, Botswana, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Germany, Lesotho, USA, Zambia and Zimbabwe. NETS has maintained its evangelical stance, despite pressure for change during that first decade.
By the Lord’s grace, various evangelical ministries have joined hands and worked together under God, enabling NETS to minister to and train Christian leaders for a period of over 20 years. NETS is rightly proud of its graduates who have been equipped for a variety of Christian ministries since 1991.
NETS is the only theological college in Namibia where people can receive an accredited evangelical theological education. This can be either be done full-time or part-time, done residentially or by distance, from grass-roots level to honours degree (BTh Honours). Tremendous progress has been made over that time in improving standards and in contextualising the curricula to suit Namibia’s particular needs.
We praise God for the evangelical unity enjoyed since the founding of NETS in 1991, and for the privilege NETS has in serving the Church of Christ.