KENYA: 20 teachers from 5 Salesian academic institutions attend teacher training
(MissionNewswire) In early October, Don Bosco Youth Education Services held three days of teacher training on the theme “Teaching and Learning in the 21st century” led by Father Selvam Sahay and a team of experts. Participants included 20 teachers from five Salesian academic institutions.
The topics covered in this training are particularly relevant right now given the global pandemic and shift in many countries from in-person to online lessons, even if temporarily. Teachers, now more than ever, have had to adjust their methods of teaching and use technology they have never used before.
Teachers play an important role in the lives of poor youth in Salesian schools. Their work is vital to their students’ success both in and out of the classroom. Salesian missionaries educate more than 1 million youth in over 5,500 schools and youth centers, and nearly 1,000 vocational, technical and agricultural schools in more than 130 countries around the globe.
“Teachers are the backbone of the Salesian educational system and have had to quickly modify how they provide education during the pandemic—not an easy feat for many Salesian teachers,” said Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Salesian teachers face many challenges educating poor youth who have faced many barriers to education including severe poverty and homelessness, and the pandemic has only exacerbated these challenges.”
In Nairobi, Kenya, teachers play a significant role in the lives of youth attending Don Bosco Boys Town, which provides education and technical skills training to former street children. The program currently serves more than 600 boys and girls in primary, secondary and technical school.
Students who complete their primary education are then assisted with secondary education or are advised to choose technical training in sister institutions. The secondary education is most often provided at Don Bosco Technical Secondary School in the town of Embu, northeast of Nairobi.
The two-year technical training offered through Bosco Boys gives youth a wide variety of skills training programs to choose from, including tailoring, car engineering/mechanics, carpentry, electrical work and welding, as well as secretarial skills and a full spectrum of computer-related job skills. After graduation, more than 80 percent of graduates are employed in their fields of study. Many students go on to attend university or establish their own businesses and become entrepreneurs in Nairobi.
In addition to the education provided, youth in the Bosco Boys program are given professional counseling to help them overcome any difficulties they may face in their lives. Through counseling and other activities, the program gives youth the tools to develop a positive healthy outlook on life and the education and training necessary to find stable employment.
Despite the steady growth of Kenya’s economy, according to UNICEF, more than half of the country’s population lives below the poverty line on less than $1 a day. UNICEF also noted that Nairobi is home to 3 million residents, most of whom endure lives of extreme poverty in the city’s slums. The most vulnerable are families and children who live in these urban slums and in areas of the country most affected by HIV/AIDS. Many do not have access to healthcare, nutrition, sanitation or education.
Youth living in Nairobi’s slums are at risk for exploitation, forced labor and other abuses. Few attend the later stages of school as compared to those living in Kenya’s more rural areas. The few schools serving this disadvantaged community are beyond the financial means of most families. UNICEF noted that while Kenya has free and compulsory education, youth in poverty still cannot afford to attend school. Close to 90 percent of children from poor households fail to complete their basic education.
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Salesian Missions – Kenya
UNICEF – Kenya Statistics