WORLD TEACHERS’ DAY: Salesian teachers provide hope, education for more than 1 million poor youth around the globe
(MissionNewswire) Salesian Missions joins with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and many organizations around the globe in celebrating World Teachers’ Day. The day honors the vital role that teachers play in the lives of their students. The day also commemorates the anniversary of the signing of the 1966 UNESCO/ILO Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers, which celebrated its 50th anniversary last year.
Every year since 1994, UNESCO has celebrated Oct. 5 as World Teachers’ Day. The day was designated as a way to appreciate, assess and improve educators around the world. The theme for this year’s World Teachers’ Day is “Teaching in Freedom, Empowering Teachers,” reaffirming that teacher empowerment should be a top priority in all education and development strategies. Around the globe, schools need more rigorous teacher training, better conditions for employment and quality-based teacher recruitment to attract new teachers, especially young people and women from under-represented communities.
UNESCO notes that this year also marks the 20th anniversary of the 1997 UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Status of Higher-Education Teaching Personnel. Teaching personnel at institutions of higher education are often overlooked in discussions concerning the status of teachers. Like teachers at pre-primary, primary and secondary levels, teaching in higher education is a profession requiring expert knowledge, specialized skills and pedagogical competence.
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 more than 5,500 schools and youth centers and nearly 1,000 vocational, technical and agricultural schools in more than 130 countries around the globe.
Salesian missionaries understand the importance of education for building strong sustainable societies and are dedicated to increasing the number of trained teachers where they are needed most. Not only are the Salesians a major employer of quality teachers worldwide, they also provide the training and certification these teachers need. In addition, Salesian programs provide ongoing teacher training to ensure that teachers remain motivated and effective and their own educational needs are met once in the classroom.
At the Salesian-run Don Bosco Egmore, a secondary school located in the city of Chennai, in association with India’s CARE Institute of Behavioral Sciences, a remedial education services program provides ongoing teacher training for Salesian teachers. The training equips teachers to identify, handle and address the special needs of students within a regular classroom setting, encouraging an inclusive educational environment.
In Mozambique, with just over half the country living in poverty, Salesian missionaries operate the only professional teacher training program in the country. They know that the best way to fight poverty is through education and skills training, and having well-trained and qualified teachers in essential. The training includes theoretical education and practical hands-on training aimed at providing the participants the main teaching skills needed to succeed in the classroom.
“Teachers are the backbone of the Salesian educational system and we are dedicated to providing the support and training they need,” says Father Mark Hyde, executive director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Salesian teachers face many challenges educating poor youth. Many of their students have faced severe poverty and often lack basic needs such as food, clothing and shelter. Some were previously living and working on the streets and others have faced war as child soldiers or become refugees in war torn communities. Salesian teachers meet these challenges head on, providing education and hope for a brighter future.”
Salesian teachers help prepare students to easily transition from Salesian primary schools into continued higher education where they can begin to focus on finding a career path and learning the skills necessary to lead a productive life.
PHOTO: Salesian-run teacher training in Madagascar (Taiza Project). ©Salesian Missions/Florian Kopp