BUCHANAN, Grand Bassa – A youth-led social enterprise has launched an online Virtual Entrepreneurship Program to keep Liberian high school students engaged throughout the COVID-19 break from school.
Founded in 2017 by Wainright Acquoi and James Kollie with a primary focus on creating innovative educational and entrepreneurial programs to prepare high school students for the future, TRIBE wants to use this virtual learning program to help develop the incoming workforce.
Acquoi, the CEO of TRIBE, said the Virtual Entrepreneurship Program was launched in late March to keep high school students academically engaged during the pandemic, amid limited options for students to continue learning.
The Ministry of Education has been running a nationwide radio program for students to continue learning, but Acquoi does not believe this is enough. He said the current disruption could leave hundreds of thousands of students unprepared to function in the workforce.
Citing a yet-to-be-published study that his organization has conducted, Acquoi said “findings show that the Liberian education system remains crippled, with schools failing to equip students, particularly secondary students, with relevant skills and tools needed to succeed in the contemporary workforce.”
Elvis Browne manages the program in Liberia and said there are four tracks that students can choose from: entrepreneurship, global citizenship, civic leadership, and personal development.
“Specifically, TRIBE is facilitating the students to develop skills in entrepreneurship, digital literacy, critical thinking, problem-solving, financial literacy, creativity, research, and data for decision-making – key skillsets that the World Economic Forum recommends are essential for the future workforce, but which current Liberian high schools are failing to teach students,” he told The Bush Chicken via phone.
The sessions are being conducted through a combination of Zoom, Google Classroom, and WhatsApp, Browne said.
“Students are divided into groups and placed into separate WhatsApp groups to enhance their teamwork, benefit from a shared learning experience, complete group assignments and create real-world team projects,” he added. “Each week, experts and working professionals join the program to facilitate skills workshops for the students.”
Browne disclosed that there are 17 students currently participating in the four-week program, which is expected to end shortly. Each student receives a weekly data package to ensure that they connect to the online platforms at no additional cost other than the L$1,000 (US$5.05) registration fee.
A participant of the program, Cherish Nyakoon, a senior high student and student council government president at the Isaac A. David, Sr. Memorial School, said the program had taught her skills and tools not ordinarily taught in her school.
“I am excited to interact and engage with students from various schools to learn and work on real-world projects together, using the knowledge and skills we develop in social change, entrepreneurship, and global citizenship education,” she said.
Featured photo courtesy of TRIBE