JECSE - Jesuit European Committee for Primary and Secondary Education

Throughout history, Jesuit education has helped many young men and women become competent, conscientious, compassionate and committed persons. The education ministry is still very relevant for the Society of Jesus. JECSE is a network of interprovincial collaboration belonging to the Jesuit Conference of European Provincials. The Education delegates of the Conference support Jesuit/Ignatian education for more than 170,000 students in secondary and pre-secondary schools in 21 countries in Europe, the Near East and Russia.

By organizing formation seminars, conferences and meetings for the members involved in the education apostolate, JECSE:

- encourages collaboration and networking between education delegates, school leaders, formators and pastoral coordinators within its European network of schools;

- supports global collaboration and networking through active membership of ICAJE (the International Commission on the Apostolate of Jesuit Education).

- s linked to Educate Magis, the online community connecting educators from schools in the Jesuit network all around the world.

PROMOTED LINKS

- JECSE website

- Educate Magis website

Let's Build Schools That Care – Primary School Heads Conference in Soutelo. Walking together in challenging times, companionship in the fulfilment of our common mission - this unique experience of unity in diversity can be experienced by the participants of different JECSE meetings - a network of Jesuit and companion schools in Europe, the Middle East and Central Asia. This time, Heads and Leaders of the Primary schools enjoyed being together at the regional meeting of our educational network. During the 4-day conference in Soutelo, Portugal, we got to know each other, reflected on our shared mission, prayed and gained strength to better serve our school communities. We lead people, not just institutions Like our high school friends before us in October 2023, we were guided by the words "He sent them two by two... Accompaniment; walking with our colleagues from and into the heart of our Ignatian tradition". The first input during our meeting was offered by Mr Ivan Miron from Spain. Following his inspiration, we reflected together: What are called to do? What is our vocation? How do we reconcile being managers of an educational institution with the mission of leading others? Let's build a culture of care that nurtures hope Prof. Ana Berastegui from the Universidad Pontificia Comillas (Spain), showed us the enormity of the mental health problems our students are facing in a post-pandemic world. Although the statistics she presented might make us lose hope, she also showed us the antidote to the modern crisis - the urgent need to build a culture of care and trust! The great continuation of this thought was the presentation by Dr John Stoer (Education Delegate, Great Britain) and Mrs Maria Neal (Great Britain). They shared their observations and practical experiences of how to build relationships with the students and how to accompany them. Their call to listen at different levels and to remember to "speak little and listen well" still resonates with us. You need to experience support yourself in order to accompany others An important moment of the meeting in Portugal was the time for listening to the testimonies of school leaders. Our colleagues Daniela Camilleri Sacco (Malta), Benjamin Rombaut (Belgium North) and Antonio González Crespo (Spain), interviewed by Jonathan Tiernan (Education Delegate from Ireland), showed us where they find support in their mission. In an honest way, they also shared moments of loneliness as school leaders and what they have learnt from them. Moved by their testimonies, we then talked in pairs about our own experiences in this area and considered how we could take better care of ourselves in the future. Dreaming about accompaniment for mission In the final group work, preceded by many moments of individual and group prayer, spiritual conversation, sharing and listening, we looked to the future together. We dreamed about the kind of accompaniment culture we want for our schools and we wondered what we would bring back to our schools from the conference. In the closing Eucharist, celebrated in three languages and led by Fr Jimmy Bartolo SJ from Malta and Fr Chris Cann from the UK, we entrusted our hopes and plans to God. It's time to return to the school communities In order to strengthen the bonds formed during this conference, before returning home we went for a walk around Braga, continuing the conversations we had started and regaining strength in the Portuguese sun. We would like to thank Mr Pedro Valente - Educational Delegate of the Portuguese Province, Fr Carlos Carneiro SJ and the team at Casa da Torre for their great hospitality in Portugal and their help in organising this meeting. We would like to express our gratitude to all who helped us to prepare this event, especially the volunteers who accompanied us throughout the conference and all the participants who made this event so special.
Synodality in the mission and life of our educational apostolate Education Delegates and Coordinators from JECSE (Jesuit European Committee for Primary and Secondary Education) met in Drongen, Belgium, from 28 November to 1 December to share experiences and strengthen collaboration. It was for us an opportunity to talk about the challenges of our educational apostolate and discuss how we can face them together. Offering hope in a time of hopelessness We began the meeting by sharing updates from each region. We were strengthened by the testimonies of many of our colleagues who showed how, in the midst of wars in our region, natural disasters, post-pandemic challenges, increasing secularisation, teacher shortages and demographic decline, our schools are caring for and empowering young generations. We were particularly moved by the testimony of the delegate for education in the Near East, Fr Denis Meyer SJ, who came to us from Beirut. Despite the enormous needs, the unimaginable crisis where everything is falling apart, our schools in Lebanon continue to provide high-quality education and are a place of hope for young people. It was also a call for us to continue to join forces and support them so that young people do not lose access to education and can rebuild their devastated country in the future. Synodality as a lesson of unity in diversity Our special guest at this meeting was Sr Nathalie Becquart XMCJ - Undersecretary of the Synod of Bishops, the first woman to have the right to vote in the Catholic Synod of Bishops. We were honoured and grateful that, despite her many responsibilities, she accepted our invitation and shared her unique experience and testimony with us. Sr Nathalie gave us an insight into how the current Synod differs from previous ones and what our educational world can learn from the fruits of the October Synod session. Synodality as a lesson of unity in diversity has a particular message for our diverse but united by common mission educational network. It is therefore important that we reflect together on how we can create space and time for such a synodal experience for ourselves, our staff and our students. We concluded the meeting with Sr Nathalie with a special time of prayer and reflection. In a Spiritual conversation prepared for us by Fr Jimmy Bartolo SJ, we asked the Holy Spirit to help us discern how to become synodal leaders for our schools and networks. This short retreat-style time was an important moment to stop, listen to the voice of the Lord and seek how to follow in the footsteps of our Master Jesus. Called to strengthen educational apostolate During meeting in Drongen we were also honoured by the presence of two distinguished guests. For the first time we met with the new President of the Jesuit Conference of European Provincials (JCEP), Fr Dalibor Renić SJ, who is also the new President of the JECSE Board. It was an opportunity to get to know him and his perspective on Jesuit education, to share with him our insights into the mission entrusted to us. Fr Dalibor  also shared with us the important information he received from Father General for our network of schools. We were called to continue our mission and given the task of strengthening the educational apostolate in Europe.  Guided by these words, we reflected together with our President on what kind of JECSE we need in our region and how to build a strong network of Jesuit schools in Europe, the Near East and Central Asia. We were also privileged to host Fr Jose Mesa SJ - Secretary for Education of the Society of Jesus. The meeting with him allowed us to learn more about the context, current challenges and tasks of the Jesuit Global Network of Schools. We are grateful to him for his words of support for our current work and for his guidance on the direction we should take in the future. Facing future challenges together as a community Both meetings led to a session where we jointly planned further cooperation and important activities to be carried out in our network in the coming months in relation to the implementation of the JECSE Strategic Development Plan. During the meeting, we felt a strong call to walk together hand in hand, because only together we are able to fulfil our mission. The time spent in Drongen was extremely enriching, allowing us to experience in practice what it means to build a synodal community, albeit diverse, united in a common mission. We hope that many new initiatives and plans for cooperation can now be successfully realised, and that next year, when we meet in Hungary, we will share the fruits of it. We would like to thank all the participants for the great atmosphere at this meeting and for building a lively network of cooperation and accompaniment. A special word of thanks we would like to pass on to the hosts of the meeting - Education Delegates from the Northern Belgium - Bob van de Putte and Frederic van Rampelberg for their hospitality and warm welcome. JECSE
Accompaniment in the search for hope.  At the end of October, more than one hundred secondary school heads from the JECSE (Jesuit European Committee for Primary and Secondary Education) network met in Sacrofano (near Rome), Italy.  After 5 years break, they came together again for this unique formation meeting for our school leaders to deepen our understanding of our common mission and to strengthen relationships among colleagues from schools across our region. This year's meeting we focused on the theme: “He sent them two by two …” Accompaniment; walking with our colleagues ‘from’ and ‘into’ the heart of our Ignatian tradition.  During the meeting we heard from three distinguished speakers. The meeting began with a talk by Mr Iván Mirón, coordinator of the Northwest Zone of the Spanish Province and former head of the school in Vigo. He inspired us to think about our vocation and mission, to reflect on what we are called to do as Jesuit school leaders? The following day, Prof. Ana Berástegui - Director of the Institute of the Family at the University of Comillas - explored with us the various challenges facing education in today's complex context of post-pandemic Europe and showed us where to draw hope in these uncertain times. Dr John Stoer - Delegate for Education in the United Kingdom - deepened our understanding of accompaniment in this challenging times, sharing his extensive professional experience. The testimonies of three Hades from three different countries and contexts helped us to reflect on the accompaniment we need in our own roles and reminded us of the importance and necessity of networking. In group work, we reflected on how we can accompany others so that they can experience the hope of Jesus personally and be better able to pass it on to those they serve. The meeting in Sacrofano allowed us to pause for a moment, to take a break from our daily routines and busy lives. We had time to pray, to reflect together, to listen and share in a prayerful atmosphere, to sing and to celebrate. On the last day we also had the great opportunity to travel to Rome to visit Il Gesù and the Camaretas and to celebrate a Eucharist of thanksgiving. We return to our countries with grateful hearts, new hope and the feeling that we are walking together in the same direction. Thanks to everyone who made this meeting possible: EUM of the Province for the hospitality, the JECSE team and the Delegates for its preparation and organisation, all the participants for co-creating with us this wonderful event!
The "family meeting" of the Jesuit and companion schools of the Central European Province took place from 21-23 September at the Zentrum für Ignatianische Pedagogik (ZIP)  in Ludwigshafen, Germany.  Every two years the staff of this international network meet in Ludwigshafen to reflect together on their own pedagogical work in schools, boarding schools or all-day institutions. This year the focus was on Ignatian pedagogy. In recent years there has been intensive work on the compatible translation of our own Christian educational approach in a secular and diverse society, and on the digitalisation of the schools in the network. In 2023, an in-depth reflection on our own tradition, i.e. Ignatian pedagogy as a distinct version of Christian humanism, was on the agenda.  Results of the “Ignatian Personality Formation” research project are available During the conference, the results of an important research project carried out in collaboration with the ZIP Centre were presented. "The research project 'Ignatian Personality Formation' was commissioned by the University of Bern, Institute of Educational Sciences, Prof. Dr. Elmar Anhalt and Prof. Dr. Thomas Rucker. "The aim was to determine the position of Ignatian pedagogy from the point of view of educational science", explains Ulrike Gentner, director of the ZIP, "the results are now available". What developments can be seen in this concept of education from an educational science perspective? How can the contribution of this form of Christian humanism be evaluated from the perspective of educational science in view of the challenges to a contemporary concept of education? And, of course, this also includes the question of where, compared to the concert of modern concepts, other accents are (self-)consciously set that are suitable for enriching the modern discourse, for example on how education and schools can be successful.  A wide variety of personal pedagogies "The exciting thing about the study is that Prof. Rucker classifies Ignatian pedagogy in the field of educational science as a special kind of personal pedagogy. In our training courses, the question of the contribution of education to human development is often central - now we have a pedagogical classification so that we can also speak in this field," says Verena Urban from ZIP. The "Days of Ignatian Pedagogy" were not only a time for theoretical reflection on pedagogical concepts. In workshops, practitioners from schools, boarding schools and day-care centres had the opportunity to deepen their own understanding of Ignatian pedagogy and to re-orientate their own educational work in the classroom and in everyday school life. This year the following themes were emphasized: - Global Citizenship - Education for Responsibility for Creation and (Global) Society". - Ignatian pedagogical development - teaching and learning with joy and confidence". - Words like arrows! - Towards a pedagogy based on appreciative authority".   To think about the global dimension "In Jesuit schools, young people should learn to act justly, in solidarity and responsibly. If we take this goal seriously, we must always consider the global dimension," says Kai Stenull from ZIP, who led the Global Citizenship workshop. "The guiding principle of 'Global Citizenship' is a concept that fits wonderfully into Ignatian pedagogy," emphasises Kai Stenull. "With the political youth education at the Henrich Pesch House (HPH) we want to strengthen the virtues of young people, which are necessary for the world of the 21st century". Alexander Mack from the ZIP team adds: "This becomes particularly clear with the example of climate". He emphasises that political youth education has the important task of informing young people about these changes, reflecting on their effects and showing them options for active participation. "Political youth education strengthens young people's resilience and tolerance of uncertainty. "We offer young people space to experiment with their own actions, on an individual and structural, local and global level," he says, referring to the wide range of ZIP offers. To protect trust "The theme of 'protecting trust' is an important one in Ignatian pedagogy. "Ignatius of Loyola was far ahead of his time with his pedagogy and demanded that students should not experience violence at the hands of Jesuits," emphasises Cathrin Rieger from ZIP, who led the "Words like Arrows" workshop. It was about boundary violations and what a shame-free and relationship-oriented pedagogy could look like. In addition to the workshops, there was the opportunity for peer advice on one's own educational work. Rarely does so much professional expertise from educational practice come together. Finally, the participants reflected in workshops on contemporary forms of spiritual practice and prayer, and shared examples of best practice. Network of Ignatian Schools The meeting in Ludwigshafen brought together representatives of the regional education network, which includes 13 schools from Germany, Austria, Lithuania and Hungary, as well as the Centre for Ignatian Pedagogy (ZIP). The meeting was also attended by representatives of the European Network of Jesuit Schools (JECSE) – organization that unite all Jesuit and companion schools in Europe and the Middle East, Jesuit Worldwide Learning - an institution that enables refugees around the world to study, and partners from foundations linked to the work of the network. The "Days of Ignatian Pedagogy" also provided a fitting stage to welcome Gabriele Hüdepohl, the new Delegate for school education of the Central European Province of the Jesuits. In the area of school education, she represents the political leadership of the Central European Province both internally and externally.
Impressions after the JECSE Ignatian Leadership Programme  Silence on the bus after our visit to the JRS Telyani school in the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon. The group, consisting of 16 participants and the 5-person planning team, was lost in thoughts. The images of smiling children in the dark classrooms with sprayed heating and electricity (built 10 years ago to be temporary), the cheerful quotes on the walls, the powerful commitment of the school management moved on to the desolation of the infinite refugee camps around the school, the poverty in the streets, the tense relations between politicians and the population, between Muslims and Christians, the unsustainable mobility of the Lebanese pound. We were in a VUCA world par excellence (volatility, uncertainty, complexity, ambiguity).  The meeting with the refugee school children and later with the workers of the Arc en Ciel sheltered workshop confronted us with our own limits and forced us to push them back, to broaden our vision. For this step into the unknown, we needed courage and confidence... And that's what this ILP was.  Theoretical models and practical tools  Our road to Lebanon started about three years ago and would guide us through four modules. Each module gave us theoretical models and practical tools, drawn from the rich experience of the planning team. Between modules, we also met regularly online.  The first module took place in Rodizio (Portugal) in autumn 2021. We began by exploring how to integrate Ignatian leadership in our school contexts. Nikolaas Sintobin SJ prompted reflection on the norms guiding us: the path of evil or the path of Good? Antonio Allende, education delegate in Spain, shared his journey in Ignatian leadership, emphasizing the patient construction of Ignatian history, brick by brick.  Called to lead others   In spring 2022 at Loyola, we embraced leadership through reflection, prayer, and mutual support. We focused on social and emotional intelligence, emphasizing active listening to build trust within the team. Mark Desmet SJ spoke about fragile leadership, adaptability, and unity in a changing world. We practiced spiritual conversations and aimed to apply them in our school context.  In autumn 2022, during our gathering in Gozo (Malta), we shared our faith conversations and discovered a newfound hunger. We explored leading a Spirit-led organization, addressing the connections within our school team and navigating opposing viewpoints. Jimmy Bartolo SJ, the Rector of St. Aloysius College, enlightened us on creating an Ignatian school culture that fosters men and women with and for others.   Grow in confidence and courage  Spring brought us to Taanayel in Lebanon, into the unknown. We wanted to grow in confidence and courage to dare to lead our team into this unknown as comforting leaders. Not only the meeting with Charbel Batour sj, rector of the Collège Notre-Dame de Jamhour in Beirut, and Michael Zammit SJ, regional superior, clarified the tensions in the Lebanese society.  Meeting the bus driver, the kitchen princesses in Taanayel, the sheltered workshop workers, the guide in Baalbek and Anjar, the hospitable woman and her husband in Deir Al-Qamar (Come in and have a coffee) showed us, alongside the despair, small glimmers of kindness, hospitality, hope. This brought us seamlessly into the meaning and power of adaptive leadership (Heifetz). How can we mobilise our team to take on innovative challenges in our own contexts?  The Ignatian Leadership Programme abled us to grow in Ignatian leadership. By going together, we strengthened our vocation to push the limits, to lead the team entrusted to us in a comforting way, and to put Ignatian spirituality at the centre of this leadership.  Anne-Sophie De Decker, Fr Bart van Emmerik SJ 
By mid-January the European meeting of pastoral workers of JECSE, the European network of Jesuit schools, took place in Manresa. Jesuits and lay people from twelve different countries came to the city of Barcelona to deepen their understanding of the importance of pastoral accompaniment open to hope. Throughout the four days, the 65 participants had time to reflect on the current reality of young people and accompaniment in a theological key in a changing world through two conferences. There was also time for reflection, prayer, spiritual conversation, discovering other realities through workshops and, of course, visiting the Ignatian places of Manresa and Montserrat. The delegation from Educsi (Province of Spain) had the lively presence of 25 participants, who, in addition to taking advantage of the experience, were able to get to know each other and discover more and better other realities of the sector and of the province.