EL SALVADOR: New Partnershp with Broward College Help Provide Training to Salesian Aeronautics Teaching Staff
(MissionNewswire) Close to 35 percent of El Salvador’s population lives in poverty, according to the World Bank. Youth in El Salvador are confronted not only with poverty, but with instability, high levels of violence and inadequate access to educational opportunities. Despite ranking high for economic indicators, the need for practical education in El Salvador is more important than ever with 12 percent of youth ages 15-24 unemployed and 41 percent underemployed. Widely considered the world’s largest provider of vocational training, the Salesians are bringing training opportunities to El Salvador in highly skilled trades such as aviation mechanics.
Last year, the Salesian-run Don Bosco University in San Salvador, El Salvador, made significant strides in its aircraft maintenance program. For the first time in the company’s history, FedEx donated a Boeing 727 aircraft to the university. The donation of the plane was coordinated with help from Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco.
The donated plane will serve as a hands-on training tool for hundreds of aviation students at Don Bosco University. Students will have the opportunity to take skills learned in the classroom and apply them while learning about the mechanical aspects of large aircraft.
More recently, Don Bosco University has entered into a cooperative agreement with Broward College in Davie, Florida that will further the aviation program at the university. The agreement brings two professors at Broward College, Emilio Lizarraga and Tomás Garrido, both international experts in avionics, to Don Bosco University to aid in the setting up of both theoretical and practical lesson plans to help in program development for the maintenance, servicing and storage of the Boeing 727. In addition, the professors are training 12 individuals, including teachers at the university and staff of the AEROMAN Company and of the El Salvador Air Force, to assist them in familiarizing themselves with the aircraft.
“We want to train the teachers and staff on the ground and to adjust the equipment and everything that is needed for the aircraft to be used for teaching”, said Edgardo Cruz Zeledon, director of the aeronautics department at Don Bosco University.
This initial training is part of a five year agreement which will help broaden the scope and expertise of both higher learning institutions. It is anticipated that Salesian staff will also visit Broward College and there is the potential for an ongoing international student exchange program. Professor Lizarraga noted the benefits for both, adding that one of the biggest challenges for the aeronautics sector is that it requires significant financial backing to cover the expense of spare parts, tools and the support needed to run the programs. The cooperation between the schools allows for the program to be more financially feasible.
Once fully operational, Don Bosco University’s airplane school will benefit more than 300 poor youth enrolled in the course for aircraft maintenance, as well as students in mechanical engineering, mechanical electronics and automation.
Since 2005, Don Bosco University has been recognized by the Civil Aviation Authority in El Salvador as a Center for Aeronautical Maintenance. The university offers expert educational programs and has been at the forefront in training for aircraft maintenance. The university has been known for technological innovation in these programs and hands-on training in highly specialized laboratories. Courses are also offered in propulsion, avionics, instrumentation and physics.
By teaching skills such as aircraft maintenance, mechanics, electronics and engineering, Don Bosco University offers advanced educational and employment opportunities for vulnerable youth, which in turn prepares students for participation in their country’s continued economic development. The newly donated FedEx plane and cooperative agreement with Broward College will further support the university’s goals.
“Sooner or later, in the course of vocational education, students need to stop studying and get their hands dirty,” says Adam Rudin, manager of the Salesian Lay Missioners program at Salesian Missions. Rudin had traveled to El Salvador to represent Salesian Missions when the plane was delivered last June. “Thanks to FedEx and Broward College, hundreds of students at Don Bosco University now have the opportunity to practice what they have been taught.”
See related article:
World Bank – El Salvador