Rome (Italy) On 13, 15 and 17 July 2020 Sister Runita Borja, General Councilor for Youth Ministry, with the FMA Collaborators of the Sector, animated the video conferences with the with the people of reference of the Schools of Provinces belonging to the Interprovincial Conferences of America (CIB – CICSAL – CIMAC – CINAB and NAC), present in 23 countries on the theme: “The Covid-19 pandemic is reconfiguring education: what awaits the FMA educational institutions in its Nation, in its Province”.
The objectives for this online meeting were: to prepare for the post-Covid-19 time, to face and take on challenges as Educating Communities, and to guarantee the right to education, especially to the most vulnerable categories; develop guidelines for the accompaniment of the Provinces, and network in the commitment to a current, creative, and innovative educational mission.
The meeting was attended by 95 participants including Daughters of Mary Help of Christians and educators from the Schools and Youth Ministry.
The Provinces shared the current situation of their Schools, the difficulties encountered during the pandemic, and the responses put in place to guarantee educational continuity for the students, in addition to expectations for the next school year, to guarantee a safe return, according to a possible attendance in class with an alternating program.
From the discussion, many proposals emerged, especially in the digital field, where it is necessary to promote access to new technologies, connectivity, formation for an effective and critical use of technologies, given the change in education methods that increasingly provide online teaching.
The importance of ensuring the sustainability of the works was also seen, promoting training for the management and use of resources and for the development of projects to support them. At the Interprovincial level, it is necessary to network to consolidate educational proposals and teacher formation.
In the pedagogical and charismatic sphere, especially in this time, it is important to continue offering education in favor of life, which promotes the development of reflective and critical thinking and is aimed at human and Christian commitment in the processes of social transformation, for the exercise of active citizenship. The increase in the use of social networks during the lockdown also allows offering support to young people and expressing closeness and support to families.
At the pastoral level, it is necessary to strengthen formation on the Salesian charism and to work in synergy with the laity in seeking new ways of living and reaching young people in different contexts, especially in the digital one.
Sister Runita Borja recalled that the experience of communion extends from the local communities, to the Province, to the world, to the local Churches, based on the contexts in which they operate. For this reason, Pope Francis launched an appeal for a Global Educational Pact that revives “the commitment for and with the younger generations, renewing the passion for a more open and inclusive education, capable of patient listening, constructive dialogue, and mutual understanding.” Renewing the Educational Pact also means committing to the Common Home, to guarantee the future for the new generations.