Catholic Colombian educators say “Yes” to the Global Compact on Education

With the participation of nearly 300 teachers and rectors from Colombia and guests from Chile, Italy, Mexico and Peru, and an inaugural presentation by Scholas, the first session of the 5th Meeting of Educational Pastoral, of the National Catholic Confederation of Education, CONACED, was held with the support of the Episcopal Conference of Colombia.

The role of art, sports and technology, axes of Scholas’s work to re-signify educational spaces, and CONACED’s commitment to join the Global Educational Pact, among the highlights of the meeting.

Above: Sister Gloria Patricia Corredor Mendoza, National President of CONACED, Colombia; José María del Corral, World Director of Scholas Occurrentes; Camilo Enrique Rodríguez Fernández, Director of Educational Pastoral of CONACED. Bottom: Santiago, Camila, and Stephany, young people from Scholas Colombia

CONACED held on February 10 the first session of the 5th Meeting of Educational Pastoral, which had the theme: “Resignifying and exploring the spaces of pastoral care”, with an opening presentation by José María del Corral, World Director of Scholas.

Teachers of religious education, art, physical education, technology and communication, school pastoral agents, diocesan education delegates, those responsible for the pastoral of religious communities, academic coordinators and pastoral of schools, seminarians and those in formation from religious communities participated in the meeting.

This virtual meeting was chaired by Sister Gloria Patricia Corredor Mendoza, President of CONACED, and Camilo Enrique Rodríguez Fernández, director of Educational Pastoral of said institution. As speakers, Sister Martha Yaneth Moreno Betancur, a religious of Jesús María recognized for her innovative activity on social networks such as Instagram and Tik Tok, and Jhon Alexander Ramos Villamil, educator and leader of the project Network of School Radios.

Resignifying educational spaces, a pressing need

This fifth meeting has among its objectives to identify successful educational practices in the field of art, sports and technology as input for the redefinition of these spaces of mediation of the educational pastoral in schools.

In this regard, Scholas’s experience was significant. In the words of Del Corral, who joined the meeting from Madrid, Spain: “We work on three axes, sports, art and technology; why? Because that is the world of the boys! This is what we have been discovering, there is a pastoral way of reaching the hearts of young people, and I do not speak only from a school, but from anywhere in the world ”.

“With art the boys realize that ‘they are verb’, that they are a work of art, and thus each one is discovered as unique, original… Religions have always valued art, like sacred art, for instance. Sport, as Pope Francis says, is a school of life, it helps to work as a team … And technology, blessed be the technology, it can help us save this education we are talking about! This year, with the pandemic, we were able to maintain our activities with Scholas, «he said.

Scholas, a family for the new generations

In addition to the speakers, and the Scholas Colombia coordinator, Lenny Cuello, several young Colombians had the opportunity to share their experiences with Scholas this past year.

“Every day I was able to find the opportunity to share my feelings, what was happening to me; learn from different cultures, thoughts and above all to be a better person, because sometimes we need criticism to build ourselves as a better being. Scholas is a family for the new generations ”, shared Santiago, from Villavicencio.

Stephany, from Medellín: “No one was prepared, we didn’t know what to do, we were bored, sad, but Scholas was a place where we could share, meet people from other places, play, reflect on what was happening to us, and express it”.

«I had never talked about certain things, I have never been such an open person, and less with people that I did not know before, and even so, as one begins to share … even dancing,» she recalled excitedly. «Sometimes we did exercises, they were moments of joy and harmony, full of human quality,» she concluded.

On the subject of the event, it was concluded that “this pandemic should lead us to resignify the school, perhaps it is not just creating; perhaps what we have to do is see what we have; observe with a different look and resignify what we have ”, pointed out in the meeting Camilo Enrique Rodríguez, Director of Educational Pastoral.

«That’s right, it’s not doing magic, just listening, creating and celebrating, with what I have, either in person or in this classroom without walls,» intervened Del Corral, who exempliflied the experience of the Mathematics Olympics and Scholas football. “The things that come out are spectacular; If I am a teacher of Mathematics (or History, or Geography or Language), I can teach through sports, art and technology ”, he explained.

Del Corral also addressed all Colombian teachers as «anonymous heroes who make it possible for young people in Colombia to continue standing and with hope.»

He emphasized that the task of remaking the educational pact is everyone’s task. “I want to thank you for what you have done and what you do from the Catholic school, from each of your schools, because I know that you bear the weight of what the other social actors have abandoned. Education, which was a task for everyone in society, has been ‘kicked’ to educators, but I invite you not to stay crying and saying: ‘How bad we are!’, but rather to go out to meet this proposal made by the Pope to harmoniously redo the educational pact”.

CONACED confirms its commitment to the Global Compact on Education

“We come from the most atypical year that the educational system and the planet have had; this accelerated changes to give continuity to the educational service”, pointed out in her speech Sister Gloria Patricia Corredor. “Priority was given to connectivity, to the virtual meeting, to curricular readjustment; It also allowed us to get to know each other, take risks, learn from the situation”, she continued.

That «taking risks» and learning from the situation has motivated her to respond to Pope Francis’ call to remake the Global Compact on Education. «All this has made us think that the educational pastoral has a broader mission, it is given from caring, creating, feeling, learning, living together,» she explained.

“We had a series of meetings with young people, called «Recárgate-De», a very positive experience, and this year we are already working with Scholas to open the door to all our educational institutions; that those students who want to connect and, in special, to the institutions that want to connect the life of the school through these experiences, are welcome”.

“We are working in a very articulated way; In these three meetings that we are going to have, we will give clues about how we are working from CONACED and how we say yes to the Global Compact on Education”, she concluded.

This Wednesday, February 24, the third session will be held (the second was held on February 17). This 5th Meeting of Educational Pastoral of CONACED is sponsored by the publishers Norma, Santillana and SM, with the support of the Episcopal Conference of Colombia and Ediarte.

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