Ecca, learning with the radio

For the past 50 years the broadcasting station dedicated to education, promoted by Jesuits at the Canaries, has been a tool for cultural growth and social inclusion A few days ago with an official ceremony Radio Ecca celebrated its fiftieth anniversary in the auditorium “Alfredo Kraus” of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. During the event, the joy and gratitude for having formed those in greatest need across three continents for half a century were shared with students, teachers, civil authorities, cultural and economic personalities of the Archipelago. It’s never too late to start studying. The mayor of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Juan José Cardona, told the audience that values such as “efforts and sacrifice – two aspects that are less perceived in the field of education – represent the commitment of Radio Ecca”. The mayor added that “the prestige of the Radio is reflected in the society of the Canaries which undoubtedly drew a very positive balance of the opportunities offered by Radio Ecca for education and for personal and professional development”. Francisco Ruiz Pérez, provincial of the Jesuits in Spain, executive president of Radio Ecca charitable institution, underlined that “the long way undertaken so far is not the result of fortune; if Ecca today celebrates its fiftieth anniversary it’s because it managed to preserve the spirit of a visionary person such as Jesuit Francisco Villén”. The religious thus thanked the students, sharing his belief that “it’s never too late for traineeship, just like determination and spiritual strength, to achieve an improvement of people through formation”. Francisca Luengo, Councillor for Labour of the Government of the Canaries, member of Radio Ecca Charitable Institution, said: “It’s hard to imagine the prosperity of the Canary Islands without Radio Ecca, an educational institution that underwent a transformation in order to provide educational and professional qualifications”. Margarita Ramos Quintana, Professor of Labour Law at the “Universidad de la Laguna”, alumni of Radio Ecca, expressed her appreciation for the opportunity, offered by the radio station to all those who like herself lack the resources to complete their education, to continue her high-school studies and access university. “Education and training are necessary to have a dignified life in harmony with the present times”, she said. For more justice and solidarity in the world. Lucas López, director of Radio Ecca, and Amparo Osorio, vice-director, highlighted the fact that “Ecca is a tool against social exclusion”, a “gift” for many, put into practice by Jesuit Fr Francisco Villén and by all those who have continued this work, whose target is “learning: we share this experience with all institutions and associations with whom we establish an educational alliance. From the Canaries we observe the rest of the world where education is a challenge worth fighting for. Ecca is a network for goodness, encounter, reconciliation, equality. For this reason we demand the best formation for everyone”. The President of the government of the Canaries Paulino Rivero delivered the final remarks during the ceremony on the quality of education. He said: “Radio Ecca was and still is very important for the quality leap experienced by the Canaries over the past fifty years, which continues being an initiative of fundamental importance for the spread of justice and solidarity worldwide”. A revolutionary idea. Francisco Villén arrived in the Canaries in the 1970s with the revolutionary idea of setting up a radio station exclusively dedicated to learning. Radio Ecca is in fact the most ancient distance-learning institution in Spain and the most important centre for adult education in the Canaries in terms of educational networks, activities and number of students. Although Radio Ecca was first set up in the Canaries, its commitment has extended to other autonomous communities in Spain and in several African countries. Many Latin American educational centres are equally networking with the Radio. Over the past 50 years Radio Ecca developed its teaching system that turned out to be efficient, modern and cost-effective (the Radio confers scholarships to people in difficulty through agreements with private and public institutions). This system is offered to all those in greatest need of learning skills such as the disabled and other disadvantaged brackets.

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