Rome (Italy) On 13 July 2020, Sister Runita Borja, Councilor for Youth Ministry, with some Collaborators from the Youth Ministry Sector, animated the video conference with the School and Pastoral Referents of the Interprovincial Conference of Brazil (CIB), on the theme: “The Covid-19 Pandemic is reshaping education: what awaits the educational institutions of the FMA in their respective Countries and Provinces”.
The objectives of the meeting, at which there were 27 participants from 9 Provinces, were:
- Prepare ourselves for post Covid-19, to face and assume the challenges as Educating Communities to guarantee the right to instruction above all for the most vulnerable categories;
- Develop guidelines to accompany the Province and network in the commitment to an educational mission that is actual, creative, and innovative.
Sr. Runita Borja greeted the participants with these words: “One of the biggest challenges of the current situation is – and will be – ‘how to guarantee education for all’. This meeting is a significant space, so that we can help each other to find concrete, daring, and creative solutions to guarantee education for everyone, especially for children, adolescents, and young people in situations of hardship and exclusion”.
After a brief introduction by each participant, there was the presentation of the Salesian Schools Brazil Network (RSB). Sr. Adair Sberga, Executive Director of the RSB Schools, shared the scenario of the Salesian Schools in this time of Pandemic of Covid-19 and the actions developed by RSB-Schools in this first half of 2020. She illustrated the general situation of the schools in Brazil, with their problems and challenges, including inequalities in access between parity and public schools; the lack of enrollment in the kindergartens; the challenge of teacher formation, both live and via the platform; the next return to face-to-face lessons, but with the Covid-19 situation still worrying in Brazil. The RSB Schools are committed to offering support for the formation of the associated Schools. Especially through the web page on its site, it offers guidelines for the use of the Edebê Platform, in addition to assistance for the students and indications for formation courses and resources for the educators.
Subsequently, the Province Referents spoke about their own realities, explaining the actions taken to safeguard education, both during the Covid-19 Pandemic and in the future. All CIB schools have tried to reinvent the formation actions offered to different audiences with creativity, proactivity, and dynamism, promoting the continuous formation of teams, students, and families, in this time that requires transforming challenges into possibilities. They are also working online, sharing their resources and knowledge, in order to develop common strategies to face the crisis situation and to take new paths to educate and evangelize children and young people.
As networked RSB Schools, the intention was expressed of working on the Objectives of Laudato Si’ (OLS) giving special attention to Objective 5: Ecological Instruction (review and re-define the teaching programs, reform the scholastic institutes in the light of integral ecology, with the aim of creating ecological awareness, stimulate concrete action, and promote the ecological vocation to the young people, the teachers, the leaders in the instructional sector, etc.).
During her intervention, Sr. Runita Borja highlighted the positive sides to this situation, among which the introduction of technology and innovative solutions, the increased autonomy of the students in their personal learning, the cooperation of the parents, the improvement in multi-sector coordination, the strengthening of learning on global and citizenship issues. She offered the participants a ‘reminder’ with various points to give substance to an educational response to the situation of the Covid-19 pandemic. In conclusion, she asked the Province School Referents to work on a change of mentality in the perspective of a necessary renewal in life style and in structures.