COLOMBIA: Salesian Technical Center Receives Quality Certification
(MissionNewswire) The Salesian-run San José Technical and Technological Center was given certifications of quality by the Colombian Institute for Technical Legislation and Certification (ICONTEC). These certifications recognize the quality of work achieved by the various school programs that provide education and technical training to poor youth in Ibagué.
An award ceremony presenting the certifications was held on Jan. 30 at the San José Technical and Technological Center’s auditorium and was led by Dr. Alfonso Reyes Alvarado, Rector of the University of Ibagué. The University has an established partnership with the Center. During the ceremony, the Center together with the University of Ibagué, gave a special award to Father Victorino Correa, who has been Rector of the Salesian community in Ibagué for many years.
Of Colombia’s 44 million people, 21 million are poor and six million live below the extreme poverty line, according to UNICEF. Close to one in five children in Colombia has no access to education. For many youth, vocational education offers the brightest opportunities for the future.
Salesian-run programs in Colombia offer youth a variety of options that include; schools for internally displaced persons that offer training in skills such as tailoring, graphic design, electronics, mechanics and information technology; training for street children that focuses on teaching work skills in addition to traditional educational courses; and courses focused on promoting entrepreneurship.
In addition, more formal technical education is offered at institutions like the San José Technical and Technological Center. Here students learn technical trades and are able to obtain jobs and even grow small businesses – all while contributing to improving the future of Colombia.
The Certification from ICONTEC is a management tool that certifies institutional quality and guarantees recognition of San José Center’s quality at an international level in 130 countries around the globe. Other certifications awarded guarantee that its programs respect Colombian technical legislation ensuring that students educated there conform with the requirements of the National Ministry of Education.
The certified programs at the Center include a lab technician course in network management and computer equipment; construction and maintenance of electrical, residential, commercial and industrial systems; garment design and fabrication; advertising graphics communication; and auto-maintenance for gas and petrol vehicles.
“The Salesians are working hard to educate youth in Colombia and provide them a path out of poverty,” says Father Mark Hyde, executive director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “The technical programs show how education and training not only benefit the individual student, but also entire communities as the students return home to contribute to the local economy. In this way, the students help themselves and their families and even sometimes go on to train others with the skills they have acquired.”
UNICEF – Colombia