Carachipampa Christian School - Moving Forward
Some of the oldest Christian schools in the world today have their roots in the early missionary movements of 100+ years ago or more. Such is the case with Carachipampa Christian School in Cochabamba, Bolivia. CCS, owned by SIM Bolivia, celebrates its 90-year anniversary this year!
Times change, paradigms shift, and transitions take place that sometimes force change in all arenas, including schools. NICS is contacted from time to time by schools in transition. The typical "MK School" model often consists of some or all of the following elements: teachers raise their own salaries through friends and churches, the school student population is often exclusively or primarily missionary kids, many students board, the emphasis of the school is that of a needed "support" ministry for the primary work of missionary church-planting, translation, etc. Over time, however, the missionary work progresses and missionaries move on to other areas, needs of the students and school families change, teacher shortages and budget challenges are almost inevitable. Either the school diminishes to a point that it can longer function, or the school changes from its original purpose and adapts to a new and changing "climate." The challenge for the mission agencies operating these schools then becomes to determine if running these schools is really a good "fit" to their stated purpose of existence. In fact, most mission agencies do not really desire to be in the school "business."
NICS has a different model—one which places school operations, management, and ministry as the top priority of our existence. So, it is not unusual for us to be contacted by a mission agency or an MK school asking if we would consider taking over the operation of the school. Because our model is so different from the MK school model, this transition can sometimes be challenging, and frankly, sometimes just doesn't work.
SIM Bolivia and NICS have been "friends" in the work of the Lord for many years. When we opened our school in Bolivia's capital city of La Paz, that friendship grew. The natural result of being "neighbors" was communicating with each other about common issues, such as the changing dynamics of operating a private school in a socialist country. Restrictions and difficult government requirements seemed to be bringing threatening challenges to private education.
An agreement was reached in 2014 that SIM Bolivia and NICS would make an effort to transition CCS from a "mission-sponsored" school to an international Christian school managed and operated by NICS. This time would be a trial period during which all options would be explored. Much work has been done, but the one-year planned transition became impossible for several reasons, including strict government regulations limiting tuition increases, combined with government mandates to increase salaries. Because the NICS model includes all teachers eventually being fully-salaried, both parties concluded that the school simply could not make the full transition to NICS, especially with so many unknowns in dealing with the government.
By December 2016 a decision was reached by SIM Bolivia and NICS that the "trial period" had served its purpose and that CCS should return fully to SIM management at the end of the written agreement—June 30, 2017.
This process has allowed us the great joy of getting to know CCS—its staff, its students, its community "up close and personal," and what a wonderful school it is! New friendships have been developed between our agencies, and while the formal relationship ends June 2017, the cooperation and friendship, camaraderie and teamwork experienced through this process has been encouraging. We believe CCS will continue to move forward under the SIM Bolivia leadership and this wonderful school will thrive.
Please join us in taking this opportunity to pray for CCS and especially to pray for the country of Bolivia, as new challenges are faced by those doing His great work there. We love you, CCS!