Xavier Jesuit School
The Jesuits have built a school that is a model of hope for students, for the community and for all schools in Cambodia.
For over 30 years, the Jesuits have accompanied and served Cambodians who are war-disabled, displaced, disadvantaged and living in poverty.
Today, the impact of the deadly Pol Pot regime lives on as 65% of Cambodians are under 30 years of age. Less than 40% of secondary school-aged students are enrolled in high school, youth unemployment is high and girls feature more in the statistics (UN data).
The Jesuits are committed to improving the quality of education in Cambodia. In order to achieve this goal, Jesuit Service is constructing the new Xavier Jesuit School that is home to four new education projects. Located in a rural part of Cambodia, the Xavier Jesuit School includes a Community Learning Centre for remedial and extra tuition for kids from local public schools, a primary school (kindergarten to Grade 6), a secondary school (Grade 7-9 middle school; Grades 10-12 senior school), and professional development of teachers (currently just for teachers at the school, but this will later expand to include a teacher resource and training program for educators at other schools).
Construction has progressed well with the Community Learning Centre, the primary school and a large multi-purpose hall all now complete and in December 2017 construction of the first eight classrooms of the secondary school commenced. Since 2016, the primary and secondary schools have been operating out of the available classrooms as they’re completed, so the primary school is already flourishing with students in Kindergarten to Grade 3, and the secondary school has Grade 7 and 8 students so far.
"The most important thing for me when I teach the students is being aware of my responsibility as a teacher. So I should provide a good education for our students. Most of all, I hope they can shape their own dreams well."
There are 325 kindergarten and primary school students, some students attend a smaller local school that the Jesuits run in the adjacent poor village, Dey Lo, until they reach Grade 3. The secondary school has 76 students, and the entire project has 39 full-time staff and teachers at present. As with all Jesuit schools, formation of the whole person is central to the education program. Students learn through an inquiry-based model, rather than the traditional rote-learning program, and they partake in a full range of cultural, art, music and physical education programs. Those families that can afford it are invited to make a small contribution toward school fees, but there are many who can’t so a scholarship fund has been established and many students are on scholarships. Jesuit Mission supports the students in Grades 7 and 8 who are on full scholarships which include their living costs and all school materials including bicycles. In 2018 we are supporting nearly 20 students, mostly girls, in their education journey.
Nith and Sina's Story
Srey Nith and Sina are in Grade 8 and have been on full scholarships at Xavier Jesuit School since they started Grade 7. Without this opportunity, neither of them would be likely to attend school.
"I like to study in Xavier Jesuit School. Because here I have a good English teacher, and I can feel our teachers take good care of us with deep affection."
"I like Khmer and Chemistry the most. These subjects will help me to be a teacher and it is my dream. I hope to teach children who do not have the opportunity to learn."