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That there are people living on the Galapagos Islands comes as a surprise to some; that it has grown from 1,346 inhabitants in 1950 to 21,067 in 2009 should be alarming to all. As the population on the Islands swells, educating future generations of residents of the Islands may be one of the most important challenges that Galapagos has to face.
The Scalesia Foundation started in 1992 as the initiative of a group of parents and leaders that identified education as an urgent requirement to ensure the long-term conservation of the Galapagos Islands. In 1993 it opened the Tomas de Berlanga School - a private, non-profit, non-religious, bilingual educational institution. Today the school serves nearly 170 students from pre-kinder to 12th grade and scholarship recipients make up 30% of the student population.
At Tomas de Berlanga we hold ourselves to high academic standards while addressing the realities of students who are growing up in an island-based natural world heritage site that is beloved by the global community. We ask students and teachers to imagine a Galapagos that is sustainable, and we challenge them to become the leaders who explore and implement ways to get us there. We do this by offering a program with the following priorities: critical thinking, bilingual education, high academic standards, experiential learning, citizenship for sustainable development, and core values of respect, responsibility, solidarity and tolerance.
Galapagos can and should be an inspiration for sustainability for the rest of the world, and to accomplish this we must improve the local educational system. At Tomas de Berlanga School we are looking for experienced teachers who demonstrate the courage to join this important challenge.