A New Frontier in Salesian Education
The global pandemic has fundamentally changed the way societies function, forcing people to re-examine and redefine everything from where they work to how they socialize. And, as millions of children and parents around the world have discovered in the past six months, going to school is no exception. In El Salvador, a new Salesian-developed initiative aims to ease the challenges of education during the age of COVID-19.
Fittingly called Transforma, this online learning platform is helping to address a critical need across the country.
“Even before the pandemic struck, youth in El Salvador were confronted not only with poverty, but with instability, high levels of violence and inadequate access to educational opportunities,” says Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions. “Without a creative, affordable way to engage students during a time when they can’t physically be in school, our missionaries feared that even more young people would forever lose their chance to build better futures.”
The Transforma platform is fully compatible with mobile devices and is available for both students and teachers.
Since 2001, the Salesians have been providing traditional and non-traditional educational opportunities for at-risk youth in the poor and densely populated cities of El Salvador—particularly Santa Ana, San Salvador and San Miguel. Through recreational programs, enrichment opportunities in the arts and music, vocational training and more, Salesian missionaries offer rays of hope for bright and productive futures. To date, more than 265,000 youth have benefited from Salesian programs.
With Transforma, students can access courses on topics ranging from technology, sports and the arts—to cooking, recycling and more. Young adults can learn how to become a bank teller, work in a call center, and improve their English language skills. Soon, virtual tutoring will be available as well for a variety of educational games, assignments and other resources to support students’ success. Transforma will initially serve as many as 3,000 students.
Transforma represents a new frontier for Salesian education. “Online education is becoming more commonplace, especially because of the pandemic, as educational centers try to reach youth in new and dynamic ways,” says Fr. Gus. “Our missionaries are always working to meet the changing needs of the youth they serve. This is just another innovative example.”
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Learn more about our work in El Salvador.