ARGENTINA: New Salesian University in Bahía Blanca Receives Accreditation
(MissionNewswire) Close to 4.4 million people are living below the poverty line in Argentina. The World Bank estimates that a third of Argentina’s population or 34.9 percent are poor. The country’s high school dropout rate is close to 20 percent and youth account for one in three of those unemployed. Access to education and training in critical job skills provides a foundation for youth to break the cycle of poverty and gain employment.
The Salesians have been working in Argentina to provide educational opportunities to poor youth. Salesian technical and agricultural programs and other services educate youth and help them learn skills to gain stable employment. Most recently, the National Commission for University Approval and Accreditation granted approval to Salesian University in Bahía Blanca. This new University will offer quality education to young people who are looking to continue their studies and advance their academic standing.
“Salesian programs adapt to local needs,” says Father Mark Hyde, executive director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “The University will teach, train and work with local youth living in poverty who want opportunities for a brighter future.”
The University, set up as a nonprofit, has a mission that focuses on development and research, advancement in technology, formation of human resources and attention to innovative practices for the common good of the people and the progress of the nation. The first courses offered will be in education, communications, psychology and the study and theory of law.
Salesian staff members have worked for the last eight years planning and preparing for the University’s first academic year which is slated to commence in 2014. Staffing positions have already been decided for major academic programs. Marta Pini will act as rector of the University with César A. Lombardi and Silvia Mesenzani functioning as heads of the Law Department. Héctor Rausch will run the Social Sciences Department and Mónica Rosa Lauría will serve as head of the Psychology Department.
The Salesians have a long history of working with poor youth and their families in Argentina. With primary and secondary schools along with trade, agricultural and college programs being offered, youth have an opportunity to learn valuable skills to find employment. Most recently, Pascual Gentilini Agricultural School celebrated 85 years of teaching agricultural skills to poor youth in the region.
“The Salesians are working hard to educate youth in Argentina and provide them a path out of poverty,” says Fr. Hyde. “The academic and technical programs offered show how education and training not only benefit the individual student, but also entire communities when students return home and share the skills they have acquired or start up local businesses. In this way, students not only help themselves and their families, but also their local economies.”
World Bank – Poverty in Argentina