SPAIN: Salesian schools welcome more than 75,000 students and close to 17,000 vocational training students at centers and workshops
(MissionNewswire) As school begins again in Spain, 96 Salesian schools welcome more than 75,000 students this year. In addition, approximately 17,000 new students will start learning a trade in vocational training centers and workshops. These Salesian students will be taught by close to 6,000 teachers who are employed at Salesian educational centers across the country.
Salesian centers will continue to promote pedagogical innovation in the classrooms. Several initiatives have been launched including the celebration of an Annual Innovation Day and the opening of an innovation portal to share good practices.
Encouraging and supporting teacher training and networking, Salesian educational centers have planned seminars, courses and other training programs that allow teachers to regularly update their skills and knowledge. In addition, every year, a group of Salesian pastoral directors and coordinators from various Salesian centers have the opportunity to achieve specific university-level training.
One of the initiatives that has become a long-standing tradition within Spanish Salesian schools is the Don Bosco National Award which is celebrating its 32nd edition this year. The event provides an opportunity for Salesian students to present projects from their classes. In addition, Salesian centers will hold a second annual school business coordinators meeting to encourage the cross-sharing of information and better networking among Salesian centers. The goal is to ensure that Salesian centers stay current on economic and business trends in order for program courses to remain relevant to existing markets.
“With so many young people out of work and facing conditions of poverty in Spain, it is vital for Salesian workforce development programs to respond to market demand,” says Father Mark Hyde, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Students in these programs have a real opportunity to enter the workforce prepared both in terms of the skills they have learned and in their social development, ensuring a lifelong ability to retain livable wage employment and escape poverty.”
Hard hit by the current economic troubles in Europe, Spain, although slowly improving economically, has the third highest rate of income inequality of the countries of the European Union. The richest 1 percent of the Spanish population accounts for a quarter of the national wealth, according to the World Bank. It also notes that 10.2 million people in Spain live below the poverty line, equivalent to a poverty rate of 22.3 percent.
Close to 37 percent of young Spanish workers under the age of 25 are unemployed and a growing number of them can’t afford to buy enough food to live. Poor youth with few employable skills struggle the most to find and retain stable employment. Women in Spain face inequality in the workforce. They earn up to 14 percent less than men and represent only 34.5 percent of those listed as the highest earners in Spain.
Salesian missionaries have been working for many years to provide educational and workforce development opportunities for poor youth and women in Spain through residential and technical and vocational training programs.
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World Bank – Spain