MICHAEL CHAN, YUET WAH COLLEGE PRINCIPAL ON THE INSTITUTION’S 90th ANNIVERSARY
Pedro Daniel Oliveira
Yuet Wah College celebrated its 90th anniversary last Tuesday with the idea of keep training good citizens and good Catholics under Don Bosco’s educational method. “This is our direction,” Principal Michael Chan told O CLARIM.
Yuet Wah College celebrated its 90th anniversary on the 8th of December. How did you mark the occasion?
We organized a series of activities. On the 6th of December, we opened the school campus to all Macau citizens, including kids from other schools and parents. On the 8th of December we had two thanksgiving Masses, one in the morning and another in the afternoon. In the evening we had a banquet for more than 140 people and nearly 1000 alumni and, of course, other distinguished guests.
Is there any public figure among the alumni?
Of course! We have politicians, civil servants, businessmen and so on. For example, we have the former Secretary for Security, Mr. Cheong Kuoc Vá. And we have Mr. (João Augusto da) Rosa (Assistant to Commissioner-General of the Unitary Police Service), the legislator Tong Io Cheng and the Chair of the UM’s University Council Dr. Lam Kam Seng, just to name a few.
What are the differences between Diocesan and non-Diocesan schools?
The Bishop (D. José Lai of the Diocese of Macau) is in charge directly of the Diocesan schools, but not for the Salesian schools because we have our own provincials, being the one in Hong Kong in charge of the China Province, which comprises Mainland China, Macau, Hong Kong and Taiwan. We are also supported by the Bishop (D. José Lai), but not directly.
Is the way of working different from one to another?
We work independently, so we don’t have to report to him everything we do. Still, there is very good cooperation between us. Whenever we have big events we invite the Bishop and he will come for Holy Mass or for some other ceremony to show his support to our school. We are very thankful because he is very supportive.
The Government of Macau has now a policy of creating talents for society. How is Yuet Wah College giving its contribution?
We know the Government is trying to provide resources to schools so that we can train talented students. For the Salesian schools, according to our tradition, we don’t always keep them in the classroom. We also train them so they can find where their potential is in order to excel in those areas. For example, on IT, robotics and science – Physics and Chemistry – we train them not only by learning through the books but also by doing experiments and also sports activities.
Can you name us a few examples?
Whenever there are big competitions our students take part, not only locally, but also globally. We have some world champions in IT. We have competed with thousands of youngsters from other countries. In sports we have won several local inter-school football championships in different age groups. We also provide football players for the Macau football national team, whether students or youth level.
How about future projects?
Being a Salesian school, we follow Don Bosco’s Preventive System. We have a very clear objective by following this educative method and teach our students so they can all become good citizens and good Catholics. This is our direction. We will provide the resources we have to upgrade our facilities and syllabus for what they are learning so that by the time they graduate they can compete with students from other schools or even around the world to enter famous universities and go on to become good citizens, well educated scholars, which is our goal.
Is there any cooperation with other schools in Macau or overseas?
We do welcome students from other schools to come and visit us but we don’t have exchange programs like sending them to (Mainland) China. We only have short-time exchange activities, like students coming to our school and getting to know each other. We do this with schools from Thailand, Hong Kong, a very few from China and that’s all.
How about summer activities?
We organize a lot of summer activities for our students. In recent years quite a lot went for educational trips because universities are recruiting students for these short summer courses, some to Portugal, others to England, Hong Kong, China… More and more are going because they can get scholarships at DSEJ (Education and Youth Affairs Bureau) for these summer activities.