Instituto de São João de Brito
After operating in temporary facilities for 2016 and 2017, the Instituto de São João de Brito (ISJB) has now moved into their new purpose-built campus and has a total of 111 students studying Degree and Diploma qualifications in secondary education.
Timor-Leste is Asia’s youngest country and still one of Southeast Asia’s poorest countries. Achieving independence over 16 years ago came at great cost for the Timorese with many people killed and displaced, many buildings, homes and schools severely damaged or destroyed, and the institutions and public services decimated. The country lost over 80% of its secondary teachers in its battle for independence. Today, Timor-Leste has a very high youth population (over 61%) and high youth unemployment, 50% of the population still live in extreme poverty. Today, there are many teachers across the country without adequate qualifications and training to teach at a secondary level. The Jesuits in Timor are supporting the Timorese Government to reform the country’s 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. After operating in temporary locations for the first two years, in January 2018 the Teacher Education Institute moved into their newly constructed campus – a very exciting milestone for all! Today, 96 students, across three years, are completing Diploma or Degree programs with a major in teaching English, Portuguese or Religious Education. In 2019, Psychology and Sociology of Education will be added to the curriculum. 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.
During construction of Instituto de São João de Brito in Timor-Leste
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 new campus has 12 classrooms; a custom-built library that will soon be filled with specialist secondary education books in the official Portuguese language, as well as many Tetum and English books. The computer and technology lab will open shortly, 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.