The Instituto São João de Brito (ISJB) is named after a Portuguese Jesuit saint who was martyred in the 17th century, having spent his life spreading the Gospel in India. Just like its revered namesake, the ISJB seeks to be an instrument for the evangelization of Timor-Leste, especially in the area of secondary education.
There is an urgent need for qualified and committed secondary school teachers to help Timor-Leste attain genuine peace and sustainable development. The Instituto São João de Brito will help address this shortage. It aims to educate new leaders for a new nation, leaders who will be critical thinkers competent in their respective fields, Christ-centered and conscientious in their convictions, and compassionate in their commitment especially to the poor.
After years of planning, the Instituto São João de Brito began with a small intake of about 25 students in 2016 in classrooms in Casa Gonzaga, the Jesuit Candidacy house in Dili. The pilot class was composed mostly of Jesuit candidates and Religious formands from other congregations enrolled in the initial course offerings of the four-year Licenciatura in Religious Education and English Language Education.
The teacher training institute will officially open in 2017, and in the future, it will also offer majors in Portuguese, Mathematics, and Timorese History and Culture.
Classroom practice will be a vital component of the teacher education curriculum and at every stage the student teachers have opportunities for practical experience in Colégio de Santo Inácio de Loiolá. In their third and fourth years, the students will have supervised placements in schools in various parts of Timor-Leste.