Board of Theological Education of the Senate of Serampore College

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Board of Theological Education of the Senate of Serampore College
Established 1975
Type Regulatory body for Theological education in India
President Rev. Dr John Sadananda
Location Serampore, West Bengal, India

The Board of Theological Education of the Senate of Serampore College (BTESSC) is the arm of theological education under the Senate of Serampore College (University).[1][2] BTESSC was formed in 1975.

The Senate of Serampore College (University) under which the BTESSC was constituted is a University within the meaning of Section 2 (f)[3] of the University Grants Commission Act, 1956[4] (as modified up to 20 December 1985).

In fact, Serampore was the first institution[5] to be given the status of a university in India.[6]

The current President of the BTESSC is Rev. Dr John S. Sadananda.

The BTESSC is one of the major representative bodies of churches legally constituted and responsible for administering theological education in South Asia[7]


The BTESSC is a participating member in the World Conference of Associations of Theological Institutions[8]


Serampore was the only means of validating theological training in India until 1978.[9] The Union Biblical Seminary, Poona was constituted in 1953 as an evangelical theological college at B.Th. and B.D. levels. It was accredited by the Board of Theological Education of the National Council of Churches in India in 1964 which was formed in 1955 to bring together the unaffiliated Bible schools and seminaries. UBS was affiliated to Serampore in 1973 at B.D. level. After a series of joint consultations with Serampore, the Board of Theological Education of NCCI decided in favour of the formation of one national structure for Theological Education in India. When Serampore accepted the proposal, a joint structure was formed in July 1975 as the Board of Theological Education of the Senate of Serampore College.[10]

Its functions[11]

The functions of the Board as given in the Constitution of the BTESSC (revised and adopted on 3–4 February 1994 portray its mandatory role in the promotion of theological education in the country, viz.,

  • Reflection and pioneering on new methods and style in theological education in relation to the need of the country and of the Churches
  • Production of theological literature in general especially in regional languages
  • Promotion of the welfare of theological teachers and students
  • Development of ecumenical cooperation among theological institutions and their libraries
  • Promotion of relationship between Churches, Theological institutions and study centres
  • Any other issues related to theological education
  • The Board shall recommend names of persons to be considered by the Senate for nomination to be appointed as Senators.

In matters of theological education, the BTESSC acts as an "advisory body" of the Senate of Serampore College (University) and the Senate is its voice.[12]


  • President – Rev. Dr John S. Sadananda
  • Secretary – Rev. Dr James Massey
  • Treasurer – Dr R. L. Hnuni
  • Dean for Research & SATHRI – Rev. Dr. H Vanlalauva


  1. Wati Longchar [1] Towards a common strategy and mechanism
  3. Under Section 2 (f) of the UGC Act, 1956, University means a University established or incorporated by or under a Central Act, a Provincial Act or a State Act, and includes any such institution as may, in consultation with the University concerned, be recoginsed by the Commission in accordance with the regulations made in this behalf under this Act. The UGC took the opinion that the Senate fell under the purview of Section 2 (f) of the said Act since The Serampore College Act, 1918 was passed by the Government of West Bengal.[3]
  4. The University Grants Commission Act, 1956
  5. Murli Manohar Joshi, Higher Education in India Vision and Action, A paper presented at the UNESCO World Conference on Higher Education in the Twenty First Century, Paris, 5–9 October 1998. Internet, accessed 22 August 2008. [4]
  6. Ibid
  7. Wati Longchar, "Challenges for Ecumenical Theological Education : Towards a common strategy and mechanism", [5] Jorhat, 2002, p.2
  8. WOCATI web site. Internet, accessed 28 June 2008
  9. D. K. Sahu, Reorganizing the Structure: A possibility for Mission Today [6], p.12
  10. D. K. Sahu, op. cit.
  11. Ibid. p. 4
  12. op. cit. pp.10–11
  13. Senate of Serampore College (University), Web Site, Officers of the Senate, Internet, accessed 2 May 2008 [7]