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Instituto de São João de Brito

Instituto de São João de Brito (ISJB) is a teacher-training institution that educates over 390 students. By studying Degree and Diploma qualifications in secondary education, students at ISJB will become educational leaders who will in-turn spearhead the formation of future generations of Timorese.
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. Timor-Leste currently faces significant challenges, including high youth unemployment and 50% of the population living in extreme poverty. Moreover, there is a shortage of qualified secondary-level teachers across the country. The Jesuits in Timor are actively assisting the Timorese Government in reforming the secondary education system.
Through the generous support of our Jesuit Mission family, including Australian Jesuit and Companion schools, the Jesuits in Timor-Leste have created and brought to life two major education institutions: an Institute for Secondary Teacher Education, Instituto de São João de Brito; and a secondary school Colégio de Santo Inácio de Loiola (Loyola College). The two academic institutes are located directly adjacent to each other making practical teaching and observation sessions easy for students to partake in. In 2016, the teacher education institute (ISJB) accepted its first intake of trainee teachers. Students across three years, are completing Diploma or Degree programs with a major in teaching English, Portuguese or Religious Education. In 2019, the Mathematics department was introduced into the academic program. Furthermore, the school is also considering expanding its faculty, with plans to introduce Psychology and Sociology of Education into the curriculum in the upcoming year. The students come from all parts of Timor-Leste, which is critical to the success and long-term impact of the program. When the well-qualified teachers return home, they will lift the quality of education locally, and in-turn nationally.

Third year student Jesuina (second left) with her peers.

Program details

Since the official ground-breaking ceremony in February 2017, construction of the new Institute progressed swiftly and the 2018 academic year for all students commenced in the new permanent home. The campus has 12 classrooms; a custom-built library filled with Portuguese language books, as well as many Tetum and English books. There is also a computer and technology lab, with a customised audio lab for language practice, listening and recording facilities, and translation training.
Enabled by the generosity of our supporters, we are proud that Jesuit Mission is one of the key partners of this paramount project.
The Jesuits in Timor have collaborated with the Ministry of Education, other Catholic schools and the education sector more broadly to ensure the curriculum and education programs meets the needs of the country. The Institute will form secondary school teachers who are competent, who can think deeply and critically, and who have a deep-seated understanding of the social, political and cultural contexts that shape schools in Timor-Leste.
Through exposure to current teaching in theology, moral theology, personal development and Ignatian Pedagogy, all graduates will be armed with the confidence and skills to accompany young Timorese on their own education and leadership journeys. Inspiring students to become men and women for others strongly underpins all facets of the teaching program.
Student fees are approximately US$400 per year, but this does not cover the actual costs of the program, so all students are on some type of scholarship.
Your support of this program will help train and support young Timorese teachers to become men and women for others.

Jesuina's Story

As a CSIL graduate, Jesuina is part of the alumni program and is embracing the education she is receiving at ISJB. Here she receives a subsidiary for her studies. This has been transformational for her and her family as she has been able to ease the financial burden from her mother, who has been raising the family on her own since Jesuina’s father passed away.
Studying English and English teaching at ISJB, Jesuina sees that the international language can help facilitate opportunity and growth for future generations of Timor-Leste, especially for those people living in the rural areas.
 “For my practical experience I chose a public school in my hometown. I want to teach and empower marginalised communities there."
Thanks to your support, young Timorese like Jesuina are the embodiment of hope and change in their home country. From being formed in the Jesuit ethos at ISJB to be ‘men and women for others,’ the students participate in regular community outreach and are choosing to support their communities in need.
 “I hope I can be a good teacher and a quality teacher that can make change for my country."
- Jesuina, third year student at ISJB