Though primary education for children was advocated by Adventists during the 1850s and 1860s, it was not until the early 1870s that the newly budding Adventist Church began to recognize and develop a denominationally-based school system. The Adventist interests in propagating education was founded upon the philosophy that students at all levels of schooling possess individuality and should be educated to use their God-given capacities to become individuals of principle, qualified for any position of life. Education was to begin in the home where the basic values of redemptive discipline and mental and physical health were to be balanced with the importance of work.
Since these early days Adventists have embraced the philosophy that education should be redemptive in nature, for the purpose of restoring human beings to the image of God, our Creator. Mental, physical, social, and spiritual health, intellectual growth, and service to humanity form a core of values that are essential aspects of the Adventist education philosophy.
To ensure that the church gives appropriate and professional approach to the church's education interests, an Education Department was established on all levels of the church's administrative system, with responsibility to ensure that the Adventist philosophy of education and the principles of faith-and-learning are integrated into the life of each of its students in its schools in all levels around the world. Working closely with the education offices of the world church and the 10 Unions (regions) within the territory, staff at the division headquarters helps to ensure the quality of the Seventh-day Adventist educational system in SSD. Its work also includes collaboration with other ministries of the church to help nurture the faith of Adventist students attending colleges and universities outside of the denomination system worldwide.