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SPAIN: New Partnership with Zimbabwe School Develops Students’ Foreign Language Skills

(MissionNewswire) Students at the Salesian-run Don Bosco School in Valencia, Spain have gained a new cultural opportunity thanks to a partnership with the Harare International School in Zimbabwe. The two schools developed the partnership to allow students to learn and practice their English and Spanish. The program combines learning, cultural cooperation and new technologies to improve the spoken and written use and understanding of foreign languages.

UNICEF estimates that a little over 2.2 million children lived below the poverty line in Spain last year. They also note that there are now over 760,000 households with children where no adult works. In addition, 14.4 percent of children were living in households with a high poverty rate in 2011 up from 13.7 percent in 2010.

The Salesians in Valencia provide primary, secondary and technical training for poor youth, offering a path out of poverty for many of their students. In addition to formal education, youth centers, sporting teams and other youth related activities, the Salesians help students to develop and grow into responsible hard working adults who are able to develop employable skills and find jobs that support themselves and their families.

“Education is very important for poor youth,” says Father Mark Hyde, executive director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Salesian programs focus on education to give youth both the training and development skills necessary to lead successful and productive lives.”

Coordinated by Carolina Charsley in Zimbabwe and Ana María Ramos Marimón, from Don Bosco School’s Spanish Department, this new program covers foreign languages and literature, as well as engages the Social Sciences Department at Don Bosco.

The program encourages students from both schools to use email written in both English and Spanish to improve their foreign language communication competence. The Foreign Languages and Literature Department work with the students on the spoken word by assisting them in making audiovisual presentations in English about the school and the city of Valencia. The Social Sciences Department is assisting with the audiovisual aspect of this project.

The program at Don Bosco School begins with students in their first and second years writing and sending letters to students in Zimbabwe. In the second half of the year, second year students add social science activities. Finally, the third year students create audiovisual presentations in English. The first letters from Zimbabwe arrived in Spain in December and responses from Don Bosco students were sent back the same week.

“Programs that help to advance technology and foreign language skills give students an advantage in the job market and make youth more employable. This program accomplishes both,” adds Fr. Hyde.



ANS –  Spain – Educational Exchange programme with Zimbabwe

Salesian of Don Bosco Valencia – Website

UNICEF – Spain statistics