SUDAN: Students Gain Nationally-Recognized Teacher Certification at Salesian-run St. Joseph’s Technical School
(MissionNewswire) The Sudan is one of the poorest countries in the world, and according to UNICEF, has close to 46 percent of its population living in poverty. Low-incomes and food deficiencies are the norm and ongoing violence and civil unrest exacerbate already harsh conditions. Despite these conditions, more youth are in school today than ever before with school attendance up to 73 percent compared to 68 percent in 2008. There remain however, some 3.2 million children between the ages of six and 16 out of school. The rate of out of school children is highest among nomadic populations, those living in rural areas and in the poorest households.
School enrollment and retention is affected by weak curriculums in Sudanese schools, inadequate training of teachers (41 percent are untrained, according to UNICEF) and inadequate educational materials for students. Ongoing conflict and the high cost of education, particularly in rural areas where parents have to pay school fees, also affect enrollment rates.
To meet the needs of the millions of out-of-school youth, Salesians in the Sudan work to educate poor youth and provide them a path out of poverty. The Salesian-run St. Joseph Technical School in Khartoum has been training poor and internally displaced youth since 1986. Shortly after its opening, enrollment at the school reached close to 900 students. Today, enrollment is just over 650 students and more than 50 are young offenders from local prisons working toward a second chance in life.
“Gaining an education can provide new opportunities young people never even imagined were possible,” says Father Mark Hyde, executive director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “It’s more than just classroom training. Students have access to life skills that help them make better decisions and aid in later employment.”
Students at St. Joseph’s Technical School can choose from a range of programs including carpentry, electronics, auto mechanics and the operation of a printing press. Included in the programs are health services and food assistance. Career counseling and job placement services are also offered once students complete their studies.
“All youth deserve a chance at a better life,” adds Fr. Hyde. “At St. Joseph’s Technical School we help youth take responsibility for their own lives by providing them the skills to find and keep a job that will support themselves and help their communities.”
The Salesian commitment to teacher training as a critical indicator of student success is seen in the Sudan where educators are forced to tackle more than teaching basic coursework. The training helps educators address issues they are confronted with in their classrooms while advancing their professional skills.
Recently, 53 students enrolled in a three week Salesian-run teacher training program received nationally-recognized teacher certification. The course was run by Salesian International Voluntary Service for Development (VIS) volunteers who trained students at the public centers for professional training in Khartoum and El Obeid. The training included theoretical education and practical hands-on training to impart the skills needed for technical training.
The newly certified teachers will work directly with Sudanese students in classroom settings, educating and training them in the hopes they will go on to find livable wage employment to break the cycle of poverty.
Salesians of Don Bosco South Sudan– St. Joseph’s Technical School
UNICEF – Sudan Statistics