NEW ROCHELLE, NY (Oct. 5, 2015) Salesian Missions joins with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and many organizations around the globe to celebrate World Teachers’ Day. The day honors the vital role that teachers play in the lives of their students.
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, “Empowering teachers, building sustainable societies” and highlights the importance of empowering educators so that they can provide quality education and contribute to sustainable development.
According to UNESCO, empowering teachers entails the provision of decent working conditions, well-resourced, safe and healthy working environments, professional autonomy, academic freedom, high quality teacher training, and continuous professional development, among other factors. When teachers are faced with precarious working conditions, are pressured by stringent standardization, have no freedom to exercise their profession, and face a low status in society, the provision of high quality education and its contribution to sustainable development is challenged.
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. Salesians educate more than 1 million youth in more than 5,300 primary and secondary schools and nearly 1,000 vocational, technical and agricultural schools in more than 130 countries around the globe.
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.
“Teachers are the backbone of the Salesian educational system and we are dedicated to providing high-quality teacher training, safe working environments, professional development and the support they need,” says Father Mark Hyde, executive director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “The value of strong teachers can be seen in the accomplishments of youth that graduate from their classes. Salesian missionaries believe that access to education and highly qualified teachers is critical to help youth learn job skills, improve their lives and find a path out of poverty.”
Salesian missionaries in many of the poorest places around the globe are dedicated to improving the working conditions and quality of training for teachers. From building new schools after disasters like the earthquake in Nepal and the typhoon in the Philippines to providing education in war-torn regions like Syria, Salesian missionaries understand the importance of education for building strong sustainable societies.
Salesian missionaries are also dedicated to increasing the number of trained teachers where they are needed most. Not only are the Salesians a major employer of quality teachers around the globe, they also provide the training and certification these teachers need. Recently, Don Bosco College of Teacher Education located in the town of Tura in the state of Meghalaya in northeastern India, graduated 102 students from its bachelor of education program. More than 60 of the students graduated with honors and close to 80 percent have already found employment in schools across India.
Started in 2005, the Salesian-run teachers college is a teacher training institution established and managed by the Don Bosco Educational Society, recognized by the Indian government and affiliated with North-Eastern Hill University Shillong, a central Indian university. Don Bosco Educational Society provides training programs for new teachers and ongoing teacher education for teachers currently in the classroom. The goal is to meet the increasing demand for trained teachers in India and provide better skilled and highly educated teachers in classrooms across the country.
“Quality education depends on well-trained teachers,” adds Fr. Hyde. “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.”
UNESCO – World Teacher’s Day 2015