TEAA - A Short History

Brooks Goddard
Kigango, 1964-66

Note: The author is the chair of TEAA. In 2003, 2005 and 2011 he organized and led itinerant TEAA conferences, the first two of which are mentioned below.

Columbia University Teachers College has posted their view of TEA, TEEA and TC's role in training us in the early 1960s. See their statement.

Teachers for East Africa (TEA) and Teacher Education in East Africa (TEEA) were two important projects to supply teachers for secondary schools in the East African countries of Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda from 1961 until 1971. TEA was one of the first international initiatives of the new Kennedy Administration, launched with a grant from the State Department's Agency for International Development (US-AID) and administered by Teachers College, Columbia University.
Over the ten years of their existence TEA and TEEA supplied 631 teachers for secondary schools and teacher training colleges in East Africa. The project was instrumental in expanding secondary school education in preparation for independence in the three countries between 1961 and 1963, a time when there were very few secondary schools in these countries.
Orientation and further education for participants took place at Columbia University and, for some, Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. Teachers were assigned to secondary schools for two year periods. Upon their return to the United States, most of the participants remained in education and many continued a strong interest in African studies.
Books have been written about TEA: The TEA Experience, edited by Judith Lindfors; A Teaching Safari: A Study of American Teachers in East Africa, by Raymond Gold; and An East African Odyssey, by Emilee Hines. TEA is referenced in Becoming an African University, Makerere 1922-2000 by Carol Sicherman.
Ed Schmidt (Kakamega, Kenya, 1961-63) planted the seeds of reconnection with his quest to find the participating teachers. Since the onset of his efforts in 1999, he has succeeded in finding 2/3 of us. He has also put us in touch with each other via his semiannual Newsletter; the 32nd issue is to appear shortly. (Click here for #31.) From connections thus forged, emerged the idea of a reunion.
Teachers for East Africa Alumni (TEAA) grew out of that reunion, which occurred in 2001. The organization's current main objectives are assistance to secondary education in the three East African nations where we taught and communication among members, who automatically include all who taught in the two-phase program. TEAA has tax-free status for educational assistance.
In June, 2003, TEAA held its first East African conference. This 12-day event began with meetings in Kampala, Uganda, at Makerere University's School of Education, where some participants had been trained decades earlier. Meetings were held also in Nairobi, Kenya, and Arusha, Tanzania, involving educations ministers, other officials, university faculty and US embassy representatives, enabling us to gather information and observations about the status of secondary education throughout East Africa.
Traveling from one meeting to the next in what we liked to call walimu buses, we visited numerous schools, meeting students, teachers and principals. Several of us revived personal relationships with former colleagues and students.
In July, 2005, TEAA held similar conference starting in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The co-hosted 2-day meeting at the University of Dar es Salaam was opened by Tanzanian President William Mkapa and closed by the Minister of Education and Culture (himself taught by TEArs at Tabora).
Participants in the two trips visited 40 schools, with a view to both reconnection and the selection of schools to which we would devote financial assistance. There was strong follow-up and by the end of 2006, TEAA had guided some $40,000 to well-run schools in all three countries. By now, at the end of 2014, individuals, pairs, and groups of 15 to 25 have made a dozen trips, visiting over a hundred schools. Total expenditures on academic materiel, chosen by the schools and approved by a careful granting process, currently total $245,000 and we are still at it.
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