Don Bosco Technical Centre is a Catholic technical school offering technical education and vocation training for 350 young men aged 16 – 20 years. The Centre, which is situated on the outskirts of Apia, the capital of Samoa, caters for students who have not previously experienced educational success, providing the opportunity for them to learn a trade through ‘hands-on’ experience. The Centre actively promotes the spiritual and personal development of students, and emphasises participation in cultural and performing arts to enhance students’ self-image and self-esteem.
Don Bosco Technical Centre also provides a teacher training course for young men and women who are training to be teachers in technical institutes. There are currently 5 trainee teachers, who are past pupils of the Centre.
Don Bosco Technical Centre came into being in response to the need for quality technical and vocational training for young men whose experience of schooling had been less than successful. Initial discussions for its establishment commenced in 1982, and Fr Peter Carroll was commissioned to draw up the plans, clear the land and commence the project, a process taking several years.
Fr Hans Dopheide, and a small band of volunteers from Australia, completed the project, and the Centre was officially opened in 1988, with 26 part-time students. The initial workshops were airy and well suited to the local conditions. Further buildings and workshops were added to cater for the growth in student numbers and an organisational and administrative structure was established to complement the progressive development and expansion of the Centre.
The range of course offered by the Centre has increased over time. The original courses in metalwork, woodwork and motor mechanics have been complemented over time by programmes in boatbuilding, electronics and plumbing.
In 1994 an agreement was established with the Samoan Polytechnic, which amalgamated with the National University in 2006. The agreement enables students from Don Bosco Technical Centre who have completed the two year Life Skills Programme to be eligible to undertake further studies in the School of Technology at the National University. This provides students who have not completed formal secondary education studies with an alternative pathway into tertiary studies.
In 1996 the Teacher Training Programme was introduced to address the ever present need for qualified technical teachers. The three year course initially drew recruits from amongst the senior students. The programme has expanded to provide opportunities for promising trainees to study in the Philippines, Japan and Australia.
The first Samoan Salesian priest, Fr Mosese Vitolio Tui, was appointed in Principal in 1997. Under his leadership several highly successful projects have been initiated. The woodwork and metalwork shop began producing stairs, cabinets and showcases, pews for churches and playground equipment. The income generated from the sale of these items began to make a substantial contribution to the running of the centre.
A library was built in 2002 and a large multi-purpose hall was opened in 2005 to provide an appropriate venue for Samoan cultural music and dance, entertainment, indoor recreation and sports, retreats, meetings and youth gatherings. Today the Centre has a student population of approximately 250 and an impressive range of classrooms, workshops and playing fields. The staff is mostly Samoan and they continue to securely anchor the Centre in the present cultural and economic needs of the nation.
The curriculum at Don Bosco Technical Centre is vocationally oriented and aims to give students work-related skills to enable them to secure employment and improve the living conditions in the villages. Courses in woodwork, metalwork, motor mechanics, electronics, plumbing and boat building are combined with studies in religion, English, mathematics and technical drawing.
Don Bosco Technical Centre conducts two distinct programmes: a two-year Life Skills Programme and a Two Year Specialised Programme.
The two-year Life Skills Programme offers students five different courses in Woodwork (joinery and carving), Metalwork (fitting, machinery and welding), Motor Mechanics (vehicle maintenance and small motors), Basic Electronics, and Plumbing and Sheet Metal on a rotational basis. By the end of the two year programme students have completed 64 days in each of five workshop courses. This programme also incorporates the study of English, Trade Mathematics, Technical Drawing and Religion.
The two-year specialised programme is a full time programme offered for those students who have completed the Life Skills Programme. Students choose their preferred area of interest and skill and pursue a two year programme specialising in their chosen field. The Specialised Programme is becoming increasingly popular and approximately 80% of students stay on to complete the Specialised Programme.
There is a particular emphasis on sport, cultural activities and performing arts because the competitiveness and discipline help build corporate morale and personal character. Don Bosco Technical Centre has a strong tradition in Samoan Dance and has become nationally renowned since it won the Samoan Dancing Competition for the first time in 1997. In 2004 Don Bosco Technical Centre won the inaugural (English) Cricket Competition. In 2005 the Centre claimed the Under 17 and Under 19 Inter-school soccer competition championships. In 2006 students from Don Bosco claimed victory in long boat race and dance competition at the American Samoa Flag Day celebrations.
More Info: Don Bosco Samoa