Eritrea seizes control of Catholic-owned college – BBC

The Eritrean government has seized control of a Catholic-owned technical school, sources have told the BBC

Teklemariam Bekit, BBC News Tigrinya

Catholic in Eritrea
Image caption: Catholics are a minority in Eritrea

The Eritrean government has seized control of a Catholic-owned technical school, sources have told the BBC.

The Hagaz Agro-Technical School is run by the LaSalle Brothers organisation and has been providing training in farm machinery, rearing of crops and animals, as well as soil conservation for the last 23 years.

The school is also known for producing Shalku wines, the drink grappa and jam. From its dairy cattle it produces yoghurt and cheeses.

Another Catholic-owned training college, the Don Bosco Technical School in Dekemhare, is set to be handed over to the government in September.

In 2019, the Eritrean government took control of secondary schools and health facilities run by religious bodies across the country.

The government cited a regulation passed in 1995 that limited the activities of religious institutions in the Horn of Africa nation.

Eritrean bishops objected to the regulation, arguing that the church’s social services did not act in opposition to the government.

The Catholic Bishops Conference of Eritrea wrote to the Eritrean government, saying “the Church’s life is connected with the service of the people”.

The bishops have repeatedly called on the Eritrean government to nurture an inclusive democracy and end authoritarian tactics.

Many analysts believe the latest seizures are a retaliation for the Catholic Church’s call for reforms in the one-party state.

Roman Catholics make up about 4% of Eritrea’s population.

The church is one of only four religious groups allowed to operate in the country, along with the Eritrean Orthodox, Evangelical Lutheran, and Sunni Islam groups.

Other religious groups are viewed by the government as foreign agents.

Background – source: Hagaz Agro-Technical school

Hagaz Agro-Technical school

The La Salle Agro-Technical school of Hagaz is situated in the Gash-Barka region of Eritrea.
This real dream, an oasis in a barren land, was realized under the guide of Brother Amilcare Boccuccia, and since 1999 has been providing high quality education in Agronomy and Veterinary Science.
At present, the school accommodates about 300 young male and female students coming from almost all the nation’s ethnic groups.
Wonderful trees and a comfortable pergolas give refuge from the scorching sun overhead.
Modern and well-equipped computer laboratory give the student the opportunity of taking advantage of the most recent way of teaching.

Panoramic of Hagaz
Teaching Activity

The modern farm (with automatic milking system, “high producing” dairy cows and good management) and the wine factory (“Shaluku wine”, delicious) are feathers in the school’s cap.
The name of the wine is taken fron the Shaluku mountain, the wonderful massif that separates the village of Hagaz from the Town of Keren.

Hagaz Staff

Our project provides a didactic support in different topics of the veterinary sciences. The teaching activity is planned to be held by professors and skilled veterinarians by giving intensive courses of 2-3 weeks. Students or young graduated veterinarians will accompany the lecturer helping him during practical trias and continuino the practical trials for other weeks after the lecturer’s departure.

Teaching Activity

The first courses were held by Massimo Lugli and Arcangelo Gentile in May 2005. They gave lectures in the following topics: clinical examination, gynecology and obstetrics.

Twentynine students had the opportunity of taking advantage not only of frontal lessons but also of repeated practical hours which enabled them to experience and learn how to visit a cow and how to perform the most important surgical interventions.


Hagaz Class

The project is carried out in collaboration with the Faculty of Agricolture of the University of Bologna

Click here for more information on the activity of the Faculty of Agricolture

Unfortunately, due to local problems the project has been interrupted.
Let’s hope it might start again soon.


Source: Foundation

HATS, Hagaz Agro-Technical School

Hagaz, Anseba, Eritrea.

The De La Salle Brothers have constructed the Hagaz Agro Technical School (HATS) school in response to a government request to bring education to areas with increasing jihadist activities.

HATS was conceived to bring together students from all of the various cultural and religious groups within Eritrea. Shaping students by having them work together alongside diverse cultures, the school is not only concerned with providing quality education and facilitating opportunities for employment; but is also a promoter of peace between diverse cultural groups. From its conception, the school was designed to have an equal number of men and women. All the 200 students live on campus.

The HATS farm produces cheese, yogurt, wine and vegetables which contribute to the school food self-sufficiency and are sold in markets throughout the country ensuring sustainability. The income earned provides the school with the resources it needs to maintain free tuition for its students. The school also produces quintals of prickly pear jam which is distributed to a network of clinics and kindergartens to fight malnutrition, which is still a plague in many areas of Eritrea.

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