By Adriano de Jesus
(Macau, China): Thanks to the initiative of the SDB Macau Affairs Committee convener, Fr. Francis Hung,SDB (Rector of Yuet Wah College – Instituto Salesiano community) two Salesians from Timor Leste are now visiting the Salesian presences in Macau – China S.A.R.
Br. Adriano de Jesus (principal of Don Bosco Fatumaca technical school) and Fr. Apolinario Neto Ornai (Viceprovincial of the Indonesia - Timor Viceprovince) are in Macau for 5 days visit (April 21-25). During this period of time are visiting all Salesian institutions in Macau: four schools and other youth services. Their stay will be concluded by the participation in the public festivities to commemorate the 200th birthday of Don Bosco next Saturday, April 25 with all 5000 students of Salesian (SDB, FMA) education institutions in Macau.
On April 23rd two Timorese Salesians were invited to visit the Macau Polytechnic Institute (MPI) by the MPI President Prof. Lei Heong Iok. During one hour meeting were present five MPI representatives: President Lei Heong Iok, Director of the Translation school Prof. Luciano Almeida, Academic Affairs Department Dr. Vivian Lei and two senior staff. They get know each other institution and history. Br. Adriano shared three top needs of Don Bosco Fatumaca – training of teaching staff, modernization of equipment and development of infrastructures. Indeed the government of Timor Leste invited the Salesians to upgrade the technical school to Polytechnic level already few times.
Macau Polytechnic Institute was started officially in 1991. Before it was a simple professional school started during the Portuguese colonial times of Macau with few hundred students. It has exactly the same history like Fatumaca Don Bosco school started by a Portuguese missionary Fr. João de Deus, SDB in 1964 as the agricultural school, later on changed in 1971 its direction for technical school. After the turnover of Macau to China in 1999 started a new chapter of MPI history under the leadership of Prof. Lei and now the MPI has some 3000+ students in six different departments (business, languages and translations, public administration, visual arts, physical education and health science) with modern facilities and highly prepared teaching staff with research in different fields. The medium of education is Chinese, Portuguese and English.
During the meeting emerged a common suggestion for further collaboration – first to sign a common agreement (MPI has agreement with some 30 institutions in China, Europe and USA) of collaboration; second step would be mutual visit between two institutions in Macau and Timor Leste and then some concrete steps like Timor Leste DB Fatumaca teachers training in Macau (scholarship program), review of curriculum or syllabus for the present or new departments of Fatumaca technical school etc. Common goal is to help realize the main goal of Don Bosco Fatumaca secondary technical school – to be upgraded at the level of Polytechnic.
After the meeting President Lei with his team guided the Timorese visitors accompanied by Fr. Hung and Fr. Klement around the facilities of different department of the Polytechnic. All were deeply impressed by the high standard of the equipment, infrastructures and also by the overall presence of many Don Bosco Past Pupils from our Macau schools as teaching or administration staff of MPI.
Macau Polytechnic Institute offers scholarship to some 500 students every year. Many of them are from other countries like Portugal, Korea, Taiwan, China or Thailand. Hopefully next school year there will be some teachers from Don Bosco Technical School from Timor Leste in the MPI program as well!
This visit is also understood as reconnecting of the past 90 years historical relations between Macau and Timor Leste. First five Salesians to Timor Leste were sent from Macau in 1927 and one of them was also a young cleric Callistus Caravario. Until 1999 the Colegio Dom Bosco in Macau (now Yuet Wah - Colegio Dom Bosco Primary Section) was under the Portugal Salesians province like Timor Leste and during those years a young timorese cleric Carlos Ximenes Belo did his practical training also here in Macau.