CHARACTERISTICS OF JESUIT EDUCATION
The ICAJE, which was set up chiefly to clarify the ways in which the Jesuit secondary education distinctive today, after four years of study and discussion, published in 1987 a document titled “The Characteristic of Jesuit Education.” The document is available at: http:// www.sjweb.info/documents/ education/characteristics_en.pdf. It spells out twenty-eight characteristics which make Jesuit education distinctive. Some of these are:
- Jesuit Education is world-affirming – it affirms the radical goodness of the world.
- Integral formation and development – It assists in the total formation of each individual within the human community by seeking the fullest development of all talents: intellectual, imaginative, affective, creative, communication skills so that the student grows to be a balanced person within community.
- It includes a religious dimension – It helps students to develop a faith response to objects and events, which resists secularism. This means developing deep reverence for life and reality and a commitment to moral values.
- It promotes dialogue between faith and culture.
- It insists on individual care of each person – Curriculum is centered on the person and emphasizes personal relationships and responsibilities within the community.
- It emphasizes activity on the part of the student – In the learning process student participation in the form of personal study and reflection are emphasized.
- It encourages life-long openness to growth – It promotes the desire to learn throughout life.
- It is value-oriented – Knowledge is joined to virtue by means of school regulations and a system of discipline.
- It provides a realistic knowledge of the life world – It not only creates an awareness of sin and its social effects but also emphasizes that persons and structures can change
- It connects faith with justice informed by charity – It ensures not only that school policies and programs witness to justice but also encourages involvement in serious issues of our day.
- Jesuit education seeks to form “men and women for others” – It stresses community values and teaches to view talents as gifts to be developed for the community.
- It manifests a particular concern for the poor – It offers educational opportunity for the poor by remedial programs and scholarships.
- It pursues excellence in the pursuit of its goals – It means fullest possible development of individual capacities so that in the future as leaders in service, students will want to do “more” for society.
- It stresses collaboration with all people of good will – It relies on a spirit of community, founded on a common sense of purpose, among people chosen to join the educational community.
- It adapts means and methods in order to achieve its purposes most effectively – It uses discernment to decide on the changes required to adapt means and methods to fit the specific needs of the place.