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Colégio de Santo Inácio de Loiola

After opening its doors in 2013, Loyola College is now home to 830 students.
As Asia’s youngest country, Timor-Leste remains one of the most disadvantaged countries in the region. After a long history of subjugation by the Portuguese and Indonesians, Timor-Leste's fight for independence came at great cost for the people. Timor-Leste gained independence in 2002, however, was left without a government, official language, currency or legal system, and few formally qualified personnel. The nation lost 20% of its primary school teachers and 80% of its secondary teachers. In addition, 90% of schools were destroyed. With a long tradition of educating men and women for others, the Jesuits knew they could accompany the Timorese to rebuild their future by arming their people with high quality education institutes. Through the generosity, companionship and solidarity of our supporters, including thousands of students, teachers, parents and friends across the Australian Jesuit and Companion school and parish network, the Jesuits have been able to bring this ambitious education project to life. Located 45 minutes’ drive from Dili, the secondary school Colégio de Santo Inácio de Loiola (Loyola College), and a teacher’s training institute, Instituto de São João de Brito, are the two backbone institutions of the Jesuit Education Project. As one of our nearest neighbours, Timor-Leste is a priority country for Jesuit Mission and we are proud to support this pivotal project which is forming young people to become men and women for others and contribute to the development of their young nation. After opening its doors in 2013, the secondary school is now home to 830 students across Years 7 to 12. As a Jesuit institution, the Ignatian pedagogy forms a central part of CSIL curriculum methodology and instruction. There is a strong commitment to forming young people in service of others and to live with conscience, compassion, competence and commitment. Formation of the whole person is prioritised with extra-curricular activities including music, sport, performance, dance, the arts, retreats, counselling and other support integral to the whole school curriculum. Students continue to thrive:
  • In 2022, 100% of graduates (158 students) were admitted to the National University of Timor Lorosa'e (UNTL).
  • In May 2023, CSIL was awarded the Medal of Merit of the Order of Timor-Leste, by the President of the Republic of Timor-Leste, Dr. José Ramos-Horta, at the Noble Palace in Lahane, Dili.
  • Around 60% of the students are female.
  • Outstanding performance in academic and sports competitions at local and national levels
  • Teachers champion the gifts and formation of all students.
School buildings

Students at Loyola College forming a giant 'Obrigado' (meaning 'Thank You' in Portuguese). 


Program details

Since construction commenced in 2012, most of the school buildings have been completed. The College has six blocks of five classrooms, a recently extended multi-purpose hall, big enough to hold the whole student cohort and their families, a new administration building block, a library, a cafeteria and staff faculty rooms. Enabled by our Australian family, we are thrilled that Jesuit Mission has been one of the key partners of this vital project.
It is inspiring to see the College activities move so far beyond concrete, roofing and paint, to provide the home, facilities and skilled educators needed to nourish the deepest desires of Timorese youth and future leaders.
Since the first students commenced Year 7 in 2013, a key priority of the College has been to include students from the surrounding neighbourhoods which is home to many families living in poverty. Every year local students in Year 6 at the local government school are encouraged to join a tuition program to increase their knowledge and skills and strengthen their chances of passing the entrance exams. They are then provided with extra support throughout their schooling at the College. All students at the College receive subsidised tuition fees, a type of scholarship, as the Jesuits aim to keep the fees low so all students with determination and zeal are able to join the school.

Esco's Story

17-year-old Esco is thriving at CSIL. Now in her second last year at the school, CSIL has become a sanctuary of learning and self-discovery.
"I don't have a favourite subject because I genuinely like them all. After school, I would love to become a tour guide in Timor-Leste. I'm drawn to the idea of traveling and showing the world the beauty of our homeland.
What made CSIL unique to Esco were its principles and focus on character development and spirituality.
"This school doesn't just teach us academics, it helps us discover who we are. CSIL offers numerous activities and organisations to participate in.
One such endeavour is her membership in the student council, a platform that enables students to become future leaders and develop management skills to help organise activities for fellow students.
Esco is also excited about the recently constructed extension hall.
"It's a fantastic space that allows us to showcase and improve our talents and gifts," she said enthusiastically. "Whether it's music, drama, or more, this hall encourages creativity and self-expression."
As Esco continues her journey at CSIL, she embraces the opportunities for growth, both academically and personally. Her time at the school is moulding her into a well-rounded individual, ready to step into the world as a tour guide, a scholar, and a leader.

Esco with her science project - a model of the cellular structure of leaves.