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24/7/2012 - RMG - Schools and Salesian Vocational Training 2/5: Europe

(ANS – Rome) – This second stage in making the Salesian school better known is focused on Europe. In the old continent Catholic Schools come in all shapes and sizes: each country has its own specific nature. As in Don Bosco’s day, so today schools and vocational training centres are one of the great challenges facing society in order to achieve the all-round development of the young.

Education is obviously a specific characteristic of the Salesian school and vocational training centre in the  23 countries and 15 Provinces of Europe. It is a similar situation in the Middle East (Egypt, Israel and Turkey) and in other countries (Capo Verde, Morocco and Tunisia) which depend on European Provinces.

Nowadays the Sons of Don Bosco are engaged in 318 centres of formal education in Europe and 8 in the non-European countries just mentioned. More specifically there are 252 schools, 153 vocational training centres and 7 agricultural schools, not forgetting 51 boarding schools and 35 student hostels.

In Salesian schools in Europe there are about 13,400 school teachers religious and lay and about 4,700 staff in the vocational training centres. Pupils, of various ages and social backgrounds number about 141,000 in the schools and 41,500 in the vocational training centres.

The Youth Ministry Department is working to continue to coordinate procedures, respond to the new challenges to formal education in Europe and to organise a new form of coordination through the Salesian Schools Commission - Europe SDB-FMA, in collaboration with the parallel organisation of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians. This is a group which fosters reflection on formal education, in relation to the charism and the culture of young people and proposes procedures for the animation and coordination of schools and vocational training centres in Europe. At present it is working on a series of indicators to assess the identity of the Salesian school.

Another working party of 25 has been set up in connection with vocational training and it will meet in September in Frankfurt. Vocational training centres in Europe vary greatly; now is the time for them to get to know each other and work together. The working party has two aims: through an exchange of ideas and reflection to revitalise and extend coordination between the Centres of Vocational Training in Europe; the second is to work together as a group to create and to promote initiatives in those areas in which individual Salesian Provinces do not possess sufficient resources.

A site - – has been created as was as a facebook page- -  for the Salesian schools and  vocational training centres in Europe so as to gave an appreciative  face to their activities and finally to encourage and promote contacts with external organisations and firms.

In recent years those behind Salesian education in Europe have been trying to move towards and recognise a central idea: Salesian schools and vocational training centres are providing their own distinctive educational-pastoral approach with a Christian and human vision that is different to that of other educational establishments. All personal development, teaching and learning, cultural and social formation will be well-founded if they are centred on Christian humanism.

For this reason it is important to promote the formation of the educational vocation of the teachers  engaged in the same formation project in an educative pastoral community.

Next: Salesian schools and technical vocational training centres 3/5: America

Published 24/07/2012

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