Taiama Enterprise Academy (TEA)

Take TEA (and see?)

(Ya gotta be OLD to remember this advertising jingle)

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Academic Building at Taiama

Well – not exactly. We can’t just put this program together, and then just HOPE it works. The concept behind the “African Enterprise Academies (of which The TEA – The Taiama Enterprise Academy is the “pilot project’), is a unique educational program that, in the words of Ernest Dhomahima, Vice Chancellor of Nuala University, “has the potential to change the face of a nation.” The absolute worst thing that could happen would be that we weren’t able to pull this off.

The goal is that someday (not in most of our lifetimes), there might be a half dozen “Enterprise Academies” scattered across both Sierra Leone and Liberia. But you have to walk before you run, and Taiama (in up-country Sierra Leone) is the place we’ve decided on that has the greatest potential to get this program up and running.

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Academic Building at Taiama

So – what’s an “Enterprise Academy?”

Fundamentally, it’s 3 things “morphed” together.

  1. A STEM Academy (Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math), plus Agriculture
  2. A “Trade School on Steroids” – particularly in Agriculture, Engine Mechanics, and Construction.
  3. An Entrepreneurial Training Program

Inorder to accomplish all of this, the TEA is envisioned as a comprehensive 5 year program designed to equip young men and women with the knowledge base, the skills, and the understandings needed to provide for themselves, their families, and their communities. In a country where 50% of students graduating from high school and college can’t find work of any sort, the idea behind the “Enterprise Academy” is to equip graduates to “go out and do it themselves” and not wait on a dysfunctional system to do it for them.

Because of the comprehensive nature of the program:

  1. It’s a boarding school (which is “normal” in Sierra Leone)
  2. It’s “small scale” (approximately 160 students in the five “levels”)
  3. It has a low student/faculty ratio (under 1/30) which is unheard of in this part of the world.

Much of what’s needed in term of facilities is already in place at Taiama, but needs rehabilitation (it’s war over a decade ago.) It’s located on the best road in the country, running between the capital, Freetown, and the second largest city in Sierra Leone, Bo. It’s less than ten miles from Nuala University, Sierra Leon’s Agriculture, Health Sciences, and Educations schools (Nuala has indicated a desire to be a “partner” in the program) and it’s on land that’s owned by the Sierra Leone Annual Conference of the UMC (if more land is needed, the local “Paramount Chief” has pledged support.)

We can’t answer ALL possible questions in this brief summary, but there is an 80 page “Concept Note” that is available, and can be requested by contacting the Operation Classroom Office.

If you or your church want to become part of something that really might “Have the Potential to Change the Face of a Nation” we encourage you to contact us to see how that can happen!

 

From more information, contact Bob and Sandy Coolman, General Coordinators, Sierra Leone Partner’s Conference

robert.coolman@inumc.org 219 405 5821

sandy.coolman@inumc.org 219 405 4952

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