Vocational Education and Training has been the foundation and central pillar in the advancement of Technology and in the development of nations. This has been true with almost all the countries in Europe and around the world. Some to a great extent, while others to a lesser extent. Don Bosco Institutions, right from the time of our father and founder Don Bosco, have contributed greatly towards it, through the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) centers we run and operate all around the world.
In Africa too, this contribution is very much evident. In sub-Saharan Africa, the Salesians of Don Bosco run 102 training centers, spread across 35 countries and coordinated by DBTA.
DBTA is proud to be part of the Supporting Alliance for African Mobility (SAAM) Project that brings together the European Union and the African Union. It is funded by the European Union under the Annual Action Programme 2018 of the Pan-African Programme for the component of an AU-EU skills for Youth Employment Program entitled “EU-AU VET Mobility Project.” San Viator from Spain is the Project Holder and Mundus, the implementing partner.
14 out of the 17 participating schools come from the DBTA network, representing 82%. From Europe, about 20% of the participating schools are Don Bosco institutions. This is a clear indication that in DBTA and in Don Bosco, you can find a reliable and strong partner in advancing TVET and education in general.
This is a pilot project modeled after the Erasmus Plus program with the mobility taking place between Europe and Africa. Three sets of mobility are expected with the European Teachers coming to Africa, then Teachers from Africa moving to Europe and finally students from Africa moving to Europe.
The EU-AU collaboration in TVET is not new. Most countries in Africa have benefited from the EU experience and from EU funding for TVET. This has happened both at the Government and Private sector level, contributing to national development and employment opportunities for the young people. I am sure that the SAAM project is going to open up opportunities for the youngsters from Africa, as well as contribute to greater creativity and innovation within our Training centers in Africa. As for the European Teachers visiting Africa, I am certain it is going to be a learning experience technically, culturally and in terms of the great African values that can contribute to human wellbeing.
DBTA has the slogan “Quality of life and Decent Employment for youth”. Our TVET centers do not just provide a skill to the youngster, instead, it prepares the youngster for life. Thus, enhancing his or her own personal life and the life of the society and the nation in general.
EU has adapted the SDG pledge that no child or no young person is left behind in Europe. I think this has to be taken more seriously at the global level if we are to attain the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) especially Goals 4, 1 and 8, that speak of Quality Education, No Poverty and Decent work and economic growth respectively. This is truer of Africa, and VET can be a great tool in achieving this. There has to be a concerted effort from all stakeholders, especially from the governments and the industry. At the industrial level, we in Africa cannot be left behind. We are already adopting Internet of things and Industry 4. But our training centers are still not up to date. And this is where EU and AU need to come together.
And you can find a reliable and strong partner in Don Bosco Tech Africa. Thank you!
Fr. George Tharaniyil
Don Bosco Tech Africa