Salesians Missionaries open a technical secondary school in Hwange

By Leonard Ncube

Fr. Angel Artime Fernandez celebrates mass for the groundbreaking of Donbosco Technical Secondary School in Hwange.

Rector Major of Don Bosco Fr. Angel Artime Fernandez recently visited Zimbabwe where he presided over a groundbreaking ceremony and laid down a foundation stone for construction of Don Bosco Technical Secondary School in Hwange Diocese. Fr. Fernandez also blessed the newly built and furnished skills workshop which is equipped with state-of-the-art machinery for machine fabrication and engineering. This comes as the Salesians of Don Bosco commit themselves to developing the country’s education and the welfare of young people.

Their motto is: “Education is a matter of the heart”, which resonates very well with the work they are doing in empowering young people with skills.

This is the first time the Rector Major has visited Zimbabwe since the Salesians of Don Bosco came to this country in 1995.

The late Hwange Bishop Reverend Ignatius Prieto invited the Salesians of Don Bosco to  come and work in Zimbabwe and the machine training workshop that the Salesians have opened at Don Bosco in
Hwange has been named after him.

Fr. Fernandez officially lays lays the foundation stone for the new school.

The Salesians arrived in Zimbabwe in 1995 and settled in Harare before deciding to open a mission in Hwange in 2000.

They opened Don Bosco Technical College (DBTC) in 2007 by then Don Bosco Trust and the institution has grown to be the centre of Hexco certificate and diploma courses in bricklaying, wildlife management,
computer studies, clothing technology, information technology, beauty therapy, secretarial studies, purchasing and supply management, marketing, accounting, food preparation, human resources, tourism,
machine shop engineering and solar engineering.

There are eight full time and three part time lecturers at the DBTC. The Salesians of Don Bosco have also opened Don Bosco Technical Secondary School (DBTSS) which will be a feeder institution to technically orient young people from secondary level with skills that can equip them for formal employment.
There is a shortage of more than 2 000 schools in the country, and Matabeleland North where Hwange Diocese falls, has about 600 primary and 200 secondary schools hence the desire by the Catholic Church to close the gap.

DBTSS started last year with 90 students who are now in Form Two and this year the school had its second enrolment. The idea is to progressively develop a full-fledged secondary school with an A’Level status.

The school is a unique institution offering a combination of secondary school education with a rich curriculum comprising languages and cultural studies among others, together with Hexco courses from
Form 1 so that learners already have skills knowledge when they finish school.

DBTSS is an annex of Marist Brothers, another Catholic school in Hwange Diocese. Currently there are eight teachers, six of them seconded by Government and the other two are from DBTC.

The groundbreaking was to mark the start of a long road towards the actual construction of structures which include three classroom blocks, six offices, ablution facilities and a tuckshop. The school however is appealing for support for the construction of a fully furnished library, state-of-the-art sports field and purchase of a school bus among other needs.

DBTSS is a day school but there are plans to grow it into a boarding facility to cater for vulnerable learners. Fr. Simba Muza is the principal while Fr Bruno Zamberlan is the projects administrator.

The Salesians established a foundation committee comprising various projects committees such as education, finance, legal and publicity, in coordination with the local community which has been very
cooperative working with the institution.

Fr. Fernandez said the event of the groundbreaking was part of the feast of the resurrection which is not a one day celebration but an eight day period.

“I am grateful to meet colleagues and boys and girls here. I am very happy to be a witness of the laying of this foundation school. Education can change the person as Don Bosco was convinced of it and we should continue with actualization of this dream. He understood the need for take young people out of poverty and the necessity of giving them skills,” said Fr. Fernandez.

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