History and official status

History

The European Council for Theological Education (ECTE) is a subject-specific quality assurance network related to the discipline of theology and to the practices of theological education and serving evangelical theological education and its stakeholders.

The ECTE (formerly the European Evangelical Accrediting Association – EEAA) was officially founded by the delegates of 23 institutions on October 31, 1979, at St. Chrischona (Switzerland). To date, approximately 80 institutions have joined forces with the ECTE.  The work of the association is carried out by a Council, a General Secretary and a staff team. It is funded by its members fees and governed by a General Assembly of member institutions that meets on a bi-annual basis.

The ECTE is registered in Germany, operates out of its office in Italy, and serves a constituency comprised mainly of European institutions of evangelical theology (together with a number of institutions from the Middle East). Each institution reflects its own national culture, history, and ecclesiological affiliation and contributes to the wealth of experience and diversity in European theological education.

The ECTE aligns its operations with European quality assurance standards, being sensitive to higher education issues in Europe and encouraging institutions to adapt to national situations. The ECTE also cultivates a meaningful relationship with European and international stakeholders and seeks to enhance the quality in theological education on their behalf.

The ECTE is sensitive to global issues in quality assurance and participates actively in global networks of theological education.

Official status

The European Council for Theological Education (ECTE) is a not-for-profit association, registered on 14.10.2018 (with its current name) in Baden-Württemberg, Germany (Registration Number: VR 201286).  The ECTE was originally founded in 1979 as the European Evangelical Accrediting Association.

The ECTE is formally recognised by German public authorities as an association whose purpose includes quality assurance. This is stated in the ECTE statutes that indicate that:

‘The purpose of the association is the promotion of religion and education. This is achieved both at home and abroad, in particular by promoting and securing the quality of the theological training of the member institutes based on uniform standards’ (ECTE Statutes, 2.1).

The recognition of the ECTE does not include quality assurance for regulatory purposes, nor accreditation for authorisation or leading to degree recognition (in Germany or in other European countries).  The ECTE is a cross-border, subject-specific international agency, and as such is not expected to be formally recognised by the German authorities for regulatory purposes⁠. The outcomes of the quality assurance work of the ECTE are not automatically acknowledged by national higher education systems nor by the public, but they are accepted by stakeholders within a peer, subject-specific network, and can be recognised by higher education systems on a case-by-case basis.