By: Arabieu Bah (Contact: +231775138085)
The Salvation Army mission in Liberia has launched its polytechnic to meet the demands of vocational education in the country. The Salvation Army Polytechnic (T-SAP) offers Diploma and Associate of Arts (AA) and Science degrees in areas of Building Construction, Technology, Electronics Technology and Computer Science, Auto Mechanic Technology.
Other areas include Marketing, Procurement and Contracting Management, Teacher Education, Theology and Nursing. Vocational education has been identified as one of the drivers for the sluggish Liberian economy. Many young people missed out on education during their formative school going years due to the civil war. This leading to many young people being idled while some are engaging in “deviant behaviors”.
The new President of the Salvation Army Polytechnique, Dr. Emmanuel Urey, a land expert from a humble beginning in Bong County, enumerated that when he took over four months ago the institution was plagued with many problems including the condition of the building, lack of electricity and other pertinent amenities necessary for the smooth and conducive running of the school and the learning environment.
Urey said he quickly put in measures which solved these problems and now the school boasts of stable electricity, a better building and state of the art instructional materials and qualified teachers and trainers.
He disclosed that the 18- month arrears of employees have been settled and that all employees are now receiving their just benefits on time. He heaped praises on GSM giant Orange for doling a handsome sum of $ USD 30, 000 for installation of its tower in the school yard.
Dr. Urey has so far also declared his asset, noting that he wanted to establish accountability and transparency as a foundation for the institutional growth.
Mr. Urey revealed that T-SAP Polytechnic wants to fill the training gap for skilled in Liberia, especially in fields like agriculture. “Our institution is going to establish integrated agriculture with the Ministry of Agriculture to have merchandise farming”, he disclosed.
He further said T-SAP will train students to become field geologists who will assist geologists in doing their jobs. Urey opined that with this, young people in the streets will become valuable assets to Liberia.
T-SAP, Urey conveyed, is going to partner with Chinese institutions so as to enable its students travel to china for one-year study. He averred that T-SAP will partner with his former institution in the United States to build solar energy in Liberia. He called on President Weah to help make solar and renewable energies duty free so that the project will not move at a breakneck speed.
For his part, Deputy Minister of TVET at the Ministry of Youth and Sports (MYS), Mr. Peter S. Bemah, encouraged students to dedicate time and efforts to their lessons. He noted that young people are the ones leading Liberia right now.
“President Weah is very interested in young people getting skills that will enable them have earnest jobs and better living condition”
The Minister said he is confident that T-SAP will be the best polytechnic in the country with its hard working President and dedicated staff. He pledged his ministry support to help T-SAP meets its goals.
For her part, Swedish Ambassador, Ingrid Wetterqvist said education is the basis of life, noting it is the 4th goal of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). She admonished young people to take advantage of all the educational opportunities being provided.
The Salvation Army new building was dedicated by Commissioner, Brigitte Brekke-Clifton, International Secretary for Program Resources. She expressed her heartfelt gratitude to President Urey and his staff members. She noted that the building is from God so it needs to be a place of God. Commissioner Clifton dedicated the building to God and appreciated the Lord for his countless miracles for the past months.
The Salvation Army commenced the construction of vocational and Technical school in 2004, and opened in September 2008. Over the years, the school has offered training in electricity, electronics, plumbing, carpentry, masonry, cosmetology, computers, and garment designing. In 2010, the school applied to the National Commission on Higher Education for accreditation to offer Associate Degrees. After a thorough vetting by the NCHE, the accreditation was granted in 2017.