We, the members of the Society of Jesus, are known as the Jesuits, a Major Religious Congregation in the Catholic Church. Primarily, we are educators. Our contribution to education, especially of those in the margins of society, is highly esteemed throughout the world. Recently, we renewed our commitment to education in Sri Lanka to build ‘a reconciled and just society.’ Along with the country’s long-standing tradition of providing equal opportunities in education, we strongly believe that we can become instruments to promote reconciliation among various sectors and to bring forth a just and humane society.
The brutal war has cost lives and properties and has deprived of our nation island of many opportunities for education. It has particularly affected the quality of education in the Eastern Province in Sri Lanka. Not just formal education through schools but the lack of opportunities for tertiary education has significantly caused unrest among the youth desiring professional qualifications. This calls for a systematized-educational-action plan so that reconciliation may become a reality in our land.
The Jesuit Education was firmly established as a major apostolic involvement of the Jesuits in Sri Lanka since the beginning of the 19th century. St Aloysius College, Galle, St Michael’s College, Batticaloa and St Joseph’s College, Trincomalee were three prominent mainline schools administered by the Jesuits. These schools were renowned for their academic performance and sports. Although the Jesuit apostolate of formal education came to a standstill after the handing over of the schools to the Sri Lankan Government in 1970s, our commitment to education continued in different forms. The Jesuits continued as lecturers and chaplains at the state universities and in the formation of clergy in the seminaries. They also founded Vocational Centers, Computer Centers and English Academies to reach out to the youth in need of education. More recently our services have been extended through higher education centers like Loyola Campus which offers professional courses to our youth. Our history shows that the Sri Lankan Jesuits have continued to reshape education ministry in this precious land of ours and are now proud to be back in providing formal education through schools.
Over the past decade, Jesuit Province of Sri Lanka is trying to re-enter the field of formal education, and the following setbacks identified in the sector has affirmatively instigated our desire to remake an effective comeback into the field and contribute more for the betterment of society in Sri Lanka.
- Mount Calvary High School, Galle (Visit)
- Loyola Campuses
- Jesuit Academy, Trincomalee
- Jesuit Academy, Galle
- Cholankande Youth Traning Cente (CYTC), Nawalapitiya (Visit)
- Eastern Technical Institute, Batticaloa
- Tulana Research Centre for Encounter and Dialogue, Kelaniya (Visit)
St. Xavier's Jesuit College of Education and Technology, Trincomalee
Arrupe College of Education and Technology, Batticaloa
Mount Calvary High School was founded at the feet of Mount Calvary, in Kaluwella, Galle, facing the Indian Ocean in the Southern part of the island, adjacent to St. Mary’s Cathedral and to St. Aloysius’ College, with 16 students and two teachers, on 4th of January, 2011 by the Jesuits of the Sri Lanka province. As the number of students grew fast, a bigger part of the school was relocated at Hapugala, in 2016, a child friendly greenish and mountainous environment, just 7 kilometers away from Galle. There are about 1420 students doing their learning under the guidance given by a dedicated tutorial staff of nearly 70 members. The school keeps expanding according to its original plan in a thirteen-acre farm land in order to create a child friendly environment with moderate facilities to achieve its very purpose.
Financially, lower and middleclass parents mostly from the rural areas send their sons and daughters to this school for bilingual education carried out according to the local curriculum. The extra-curricular activities are made compulsory in order to enhance social and life skills of the students.
Mount Calvary High School aims at inculcating in the lives of our young generation who can be a blessing to all around them.
Arrupe College was inaugurated on 27th January 2020 by His Lordship Rt. Rev. Dr. Joseph Ponniah, Bishop of Batticaloa along with Rev. Fr. Dexter Gray SJ, Jesuit Provincial of Sri Lanka. The school began with 16 students in grade 01 and the college has facilitated this batch to progress adding a new grade every year. The College began to use an old building that formerly served as the Jesuit candidate house.
Arrupe College, Batticaloa hopes to provide quality and affordable education and Jesuit formation for students with a hope of accompanying them in their journey of becoming better and responsible citizens and men and women marked by a commitment towards a better society and service. Moreover, Arrupe College in Batticaloa hopes to create a student-centered and student-friendly learning environment that remains a great need in the education sector of the country. The College hopes to equip students with the skills, attitudes and knowledge that will lay a solid foundation for a future that is both rewarding and responsible.
The main challenge of the college is primarily the need for new classrooms adjoined to the present building to accommodate students of grades 04, 05 and 06. In addition to this, we are in need of establishing laboratories and acquiring educational equipment to make our teaching more up-to-date and creative. Arrupe College also primarily hopes to bring quality education opportunities to those who struggle financially and have limited access to the already existing education infrastructure. We aim to provide adequate classroom spaces, laboratories, play areas, educational equipment that would not be otherwise available for students from low-income families. This would also bridge the gap of resources inequality greatly felt in these parts of the island.
We are convinced of the many beneficial effects that these proposed Jesuit schools will bear in Trincomalee and Batticaloa. As a religious congregation we are endowed with gifted men and collaborators who are able to form children with certain charisma and pedagogy. With a renewed commitment to education in the light of the Universal Apostolic Preferences of the Society of Jesus, we Jesuits are convinced that we can fulfill spiritual, social, ecological and formative goals in our service for the most in need.
Prepared by Rashmi Fernando SJ on behalf of the Education Team