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25/7/2012 - RMG - Salesian schools and vocational training 3/5: America

(ANS – Rome) – There is a great variety in the presence of the Salesians in education in the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean: 21 countries and 24 Provinces. Salesian schools in the American continent are pursuing an educative-pastoral programme for the all-round education of the young in order to give the new generations reasons to live and to hope. The approximate figures are: about 407,000 pupils in 400 Salesian schools; 56,000 in the 140 training centres.

The Provinces of the Salesian Family on the continent have begun a joint approach in line with the reflections and the guidelines  of the  ESA (Salesian School America). The process was started in Cumbayá I (1994) and then developed in subsequent meetings: Cumbayá II (2001), Brasilia (2008) and Santo Domingo (2010). There are four areas of working together: animation, management and accompaniment; communication; formation; and an evaluation mentality.

The socio-political and educational situation in the countries of America demand this sort of combined decisive approach for an alternative education for the poor and for ordinary people. The ESA project operates at continental, regional, national and Province level in the search for an all-round education of quality consistent with Salesian policies. In many Provinces systematic training programmes for the teachers have been created in which religious and lay people work together  integrating pedagogical preparation with Salesian spirituality. Some countries are organised as networks opting for a coordinated approach as the Salesian Family in order to respond to the social, cultural and evangelisation challenges.

In Brazil there is a Salesian Network of Schools: almost 120 schools of the Salesians (SDB), the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (FMA) and some non-salesian schools. They have succeeded in involving all the schools and they accompany them with specialists in formation and management procedures. It has become an experience of communion and animation with an impact on Catholic education in the country.

The CIMAC-MESOAMERICA-ANTILLAS region (including the Provinces of Mexico, the Antilles and Central America of the FMA; the SDB Provinces of Mexico, the Antilles, Venezuela, Central America and Haiti; and of the Daughters of the Divine Redeemer) is marked by a great diversity. In the annual regional meetings, the 13 countries follow a well-planned style of animation and reflection; they make efforts to respond to their own real situation and involve the members of the educative and pastoral communities in the various projects.

The CICSAL–SEPSUR ESCOLAR region (Provinces of Argentina, Chile, Uruguay and Paraguay of the SDB and FMA) has developed the strategy of narration. The educational-pastoral policies of these countries  lead to an experience of recognising and appreciating diversity. In some Provinces they are working on the certification and pedagogical guidance of the senior staff management teams.

The CINAB–ANDINA region (Inter-province Conference of Colombia, Perú, Ecuador, Bolivia and Venezuela of the FMA and of the SDB with the exception of Venezuela) is pursuing policies in line with those of the ESA III. In some Provinces there are very well-developed formation programmes to inculturate the Preventive System of Don Bosco in the American context, strengthening the identity of the Salesian school with special educational-pastoral criteria.

Next: Salesian schools and vocational training 4/5: Africa

Published 25/07/2012

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