Rising to the challenge

As if beginning a school literally from ground up were not challenge enough, the team responsible for the Jesuit educational institute in Timor-Leste is having to race through its first year of school and begin its second academic year some two months earlier than anticipated.

The Ministry of Education’s decision to change the academic calendar from the European January to December system back to the Indonesian July to June system means that Colégio de Santo Inácio de Loiola’s first academic year ends in early October instead of December as originally planned.  Its second school year will also short, running from October 28, 2013 to June 2014.

The team has risen to the challenge. Fr Quyen Vu SJ, vice director of the school, said that to fit the Government calendar, breaks between trimesters were shortened or cancelled. There was a one-week break between the first and second trimesters for Holy Week, and there will be no break between the second and third trimesters.

Colégio de Santo Inácio de Loiola, Timor-Leste

“We had to change our school calendar drastically to fit in with the Government's calendar.  It is quite challenging for the students as well as the teachers and staff.  We have to go through a whole academic school year without a decent break in between,” said Fr Quyen.

“It puts a heavy burden on us.  The recruitment of new students – entrance examinations plus interviews with parents – and recruitment of teachers will have to be done while the school is operating as usual, which means scheduling a lot on Saturdays and Sundays.”

Thankfully construction is continuing apace. By the end of July, 10 new classrooms will be completed.  These will provide enough space for the new intake of 90 new students coming in at Year 7, a temporary library, a temporary staff room and a temporary administration office. 

Despite the strenuous schedule, enthusiasm at the school is high, as can be seen in this new video produced by Jesuit work Casa de Produção Audiovisual.   

See related articles: JCAP Education on the move and A Jesuit school for Cambodia.

For more information on , visit www.educacao-jesuita.tl.