CES Global Education Initiative: Secular and Spiritual Learning

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“We need to educate the rising generation more deeply and more powerfully than we have ever done before,” said Elder Kim B. Clark of the Seventy, in a Seminaries and Institutes of Religion Annual Training Broadcast on June 14, 2016.

In a new effort to provide educational opportunities to members of the worldwide Church, Elder Kim B. Clark introduced “The CES Global Education Initiative.”

What Is “The CES Global Education Initiative?”

Elder Clark shared the official proposal for “The CES Global Education Initiative,” which was approved by the Church Board of Education.

“The Church Educational System (CES) will seek to provide opportunities for education to the members of the Church wherever the Church is organized.”

While the education initiative includes religious education through seminaries and institutes wherever the Church is organized, they may also offer the following:

  • Secondary education (ranging from grade 7 through grade 12)
  • English language instruction
  • Pathway: Academic Start
  • Technical and skills-based training and certificates
  • Undergraduate degrees in selected fields (both associate’s and bachelor’s)
  • Master’s degrees

With low tuition to make these programs easily accessible, the Church-run secular education programs will be supplemented with religious education through seminaries and institutes. Local programs will join with Self-Reliance Services and the Perpetual Education Fund to provide students with educational opportunities in their area.

Four Principles of “The Global Education Initiative”

Principle One: Education Is a Spiritual Experience

Principle 1

“First, and most importantly, religious education is the foundation of every program we offer,” Elder Kim B. Clark explained. “The objectives of the initiative are all gospel-centered and, therefore, the teaching of the gospel is critical.”

Principle 2: A Collaborative System-wide Effort

Principle 2“[The] Global Education Initiative will bring many more people into the institutes,” Elder Clark continued. “This has already happened with Pathway: Academic Start, and we anticipate that the number of students will continue to grow.”

By collaborating with local seminaries and institutes, the new Global Education Initiative will build on a stable foundation, and possibly draw nonmembers to institute.

Principle 3: Gatherings and Online Learning

Principle 3By providing opportunities to learn in groups and online, the Church education program will be easily accessible to members and other interested students.

Principle 4: Access through Local Church Units

Principle 4

While the educational programs will be guided by local priesthood leaders, institute and seminary instructors will support and provide increased efforts to teach in the Savior’s way.

Changes to Expect in the Future

The training meeting also marked the change from Scripture Mastery to Doctrinal Mastery in seminaries around the world. Elder Clark spoke powerfully about the changes in the Church educational programs.

“Brothers and sisters, I hope it is clear to you that the Lord is moving with great power in the earth to make education available to many more of His children and to strengthen learning and teaching of all kinds in His kingdom,” Elder Clark said.

“We are on a path into the future that will take us into new spiritual and educational terrain. The Lord is inviting us to do new things. He is directing us to change the way we work, to do better and be better than ever before.”

Although the new initiative will stem from preexisting programs, like Church universities, the Pathway program, and seminaries and institutes, the changes are a significant step towards improving secular learning for members and others around the world, and include options for secondary education.

What the New Initiative Means

In a world of changing morals and values, the Church seeks to provide a reliable educational system that promotes both religious and secular education. Learning is an eternal principle, and giving members opportunities to learn and teach with the Savior’s power is essential to spiritual progression.

While the initiative seeks to provide educational opportunities wherever the Church is organized, Elder Clark explained another aspect of the educational programs.

“[This] initiative allows us to focus on the under-served and the struggling,” he said. “The Savior has called upon us to seek out His lost sheep. Through the initiative, and through your efforts, we will do this both temporally and spiritually.”

Invitation to All

While the programs and educational opportunities are still in developmental stage, Elder Kim B. Clark quoted President Thomas S. Monson to stress the importance of improving our teaching and learning in the Church.

“In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we are all teachers and we are all learners. To all comes this gentle invitation from our Lord: ‘Learn of me . . . and ye shall find rest unto your souls’ [Matthew 11:29]. . . . When we respond to the Lord’s gentle invitation, ‘Learn of me,’ we become partakers of His divine power. Let us, therefore, go forward in the spirit of obedience, following our Exemplar by teaching as He would have us teach and learning as He would have us learn.”

Watch or read Elder Kim B. Clark’s full address, “The CES Global Education Initiative: The Lord’s System for Education in His Church.”