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.


- JECSE website

- Educate Magis website

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.
The rich fruit of a discernment process in The European Network of Jesuit Schools. There are 205 primary and secondary Jesuit and Companion* schools in Europe and the Near East. Together they provide education to almost 180,000 young people. If we also take into account their families, the teachers and their families, the alumni of the schools etc - the schools’ sector represents one of the largest evangelisation works of the Society of Jesus in Europe. At the same time, the number of Jesuits ministering in our schools is decreasing year by year. For this reason, there is a growing need for school staff formation and training programmes, so that Jesuit schools can shape and maintain their identity and be faithful to the mission entrusted to them. The Jesuit Committee for Primary and Secondary Education (JECSE) serves this purpose. JECSE is a network of Jesuit schools and is an interprovincial structure to support on-going communication and collaboration between our schools in Europe, Russia, Egypt and Lebanon. Initially, it operated as an informal organisation enabling education delegates to come together and share good practice. Since 2011, when it became a registered non-profit association, it began to support the staff of our schools in a systematic and continuous way. JECSE’s mission is to provide support to Jesuit schools and Provinces as they aim to fulfil the Society’s mission ‘to form leaders in service, in imitation of Christ Jesus, Men and Women of Competence, Conscience and Compassionate Commitment’ (The 4Cs). In the light of the changing educational and social contexts in Europe and the more recent statements emanating from Rome about the nature and purposes of Jesuit Education, JECSE undertook a two-year process of discernment, which ultimately led to the Strategic Development Plan for the 2022-2026 period. “The Strategic Plan should be understood as part of an overall trajectory, building on the work of previous directors and moving towards a stronger and better resourced Office for the Delegates and Provinces in the European network. The plan is true to our essential character as a discerning organisation as we have carefully refined our understanding of how we will most effectively achieve our vision. The plan also responds to the task given to us by Father General Arturo Sosa SJ in 2020 to strengthen our European network of Jesuit schools.” (From the Foreword) The plan sets out five main priorities for the JECSE network in the coming years: To promote reflective and collaborative processes of discernment. To provide complementary programmes of formation for school leaders and staff. To support schools in their efforts to offer in-depth faith formation and the skills to dialogue with other religions and worldviews. To foster a sense of being a part of the global community with a shared responsibility for our common mission. To support schools in the creation of a safe and healthy environment for all. “The five strategic priorities demonstrate our commitment to the common mission of the Society of Jesus, which is most recently expressed in the four Universal Apostolic Preferences (UAPs). The priorities relate to the themes of spirituality, justice and the environment and most especially to our desire to ‘accompany young people in the creation of a hope filled future’. “(From the Foreword) The Strategic Development Plan also contains important information about the history of our network, its structure and JECSE activities and programmes. The JECSE network now faces the important task of implementing the plan’s objectives. It requires strengthening the structure of JECSE as an organisation, building an executive team, creating new support and formation programmes for schools. Increasing professionalization also requires the search for new financial sources so that JECSE is a strong and stable organisation supporting schools to meet the challenges of our current times. *Companion schools – schools who share in the same educational mission as Jesuit schools, but are not formally regarded as one of the Works of the Society Group picture: The previous members of the JECSE Steering Committee - the group that has been working on our Development Plan for two years - from right to left: Mr Brian Flannery, JECSE Deputy Director, Ms Ilse Dekker - JECSE Director till 2022, Fr Bernard Peters SJ from Belgium South, Fr Antonio Allende SJ from Spain, Peter Knapen from Belgium North, Fr Ferenz Holzinger SJ from Hungary. JECSE
From November 29th to December 2nd, 2022, Education Delegates from almost all Provinces and regions of the JECSE network (Jesuit European Committee for Primary and Secondary Education) gathered in Dublin for their annual meeting.  The 23 members of JECSE Education Commission* representing Jesuit schools from Albania, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Malta, Lebanon, Lithuania, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Russia, United Kingdom joined together for 3 days of intense sharing, reflection, prayer, and discussion. They were accompanied by Fr. Franck Janin SJ, JECSE President, Ms. Agnieszka Baran, JECSE director, and JECSE executive team, as well as by Fr. José Mesa SJ, Secretary for Education of the Society of Jesus, and Mr. Eamonn McGuinness and Fr. Sunny Jacob SJ representing Educate Magis who gave input as part of the plenary sessions. The meeting offered a combination of plenary sessions with input leading to time for reflection and discussion as a whole group or in small groups, as well as moments for silent prayer in which each Delegate reflected  on their own experience of being accompanied by Jesus, by one another and by JECSE in their mission of service to Jesuit education in their own regions as well as globally. In each of the sessions there was a sense of freedom to share one’s ideas, as well as one’s struggles, disagreements, hopes, and suggestions. In addition to all the work of reflection, to the reports on the past efforts of JECSE in trying to respond to the needs of schools from the various regions, as well as time to explore how JECSE can best continue to do its mission in the future, there was also plenty of time for personal sharing and relaxed conversations.  JECSE Personel Change JECSE has and continues to undergo a lot of changes, particularly in regard to personnel. At the delegates’ meeting we were saying ‘goodbye’ to many excellent and long-serving delegates and welcoming new delegates into the Commission and onto the Steering committee. It is really a case of the old order changing and making way for the new. This influx of new blood with fresh ideas and energy promises another exciting chapter for JECSE in the years ahead.  Belvedere College & Trinity College Apart from the work sessions held at the Dominican Retreat Center of Tallaght, delegates had the opportunity to visit Belvedere College, a Jesuit school at the heart of Dublin City where they were received and guided on a tour led by the students themselves. We also visited Trinity College and had the opportunity to see and learn about the beautiful Book of Kells, a 9th century collection of the Gospels enriched with beautiful hand-painted illustrations. The Irish Province of the Society of Jesus, through its Delegate Jonathan Tiernan, hosted a lovely dinner for the group and made everyone feel welcomed. During the work sessions, Jonathan also shared with the group the recent experience of how Irish schools are incorporating the 10 Jesuit Identifiers in their work of reflection, self examination and updating as they strive to address these challenging signs of the times. Challenges and difficulties ahead Overall, we ended our days together with a sense of gratitude and hope for the future, even as we became more aware of the many challenges and difficulties ahead. Being able to meet in person, after prolonged time without being able to do so was a blessing. The director or JECSE and her team also took this opportunity to gather precious feedback from the Delegates which will aid them in their ongoing discernment process and efforts to find the best possible ways to continue supporting the important mission of Jesuit education in Europe. * JECSE Education Commission - the Delegate body comprising all the Delegates and regional coordinators across Europe and the Near East Francisco Machado
The Ignatian Pedagogical Paradigm (IPP) is always under continuous renewal. In the current context, in a post-pandemic era, with energy crisis, wars and other global challenges, it is a good time to consider how it serves to educate our students in this unstable world. This was one of the aims of the "Pedagogical Leadership" conference held in Madrid on 14 October, led by education experts Johnny Go SJ and Rita Atienza. It also sought to provoke the 150 SJ school principals gathered and invite them to ask themselves many questions about their own schools and ways of teaching. This workshop concluded the two educational experts' tour of Spain, following their time in Alicante for a JECSE training and the training of school principals in Madrid.    Johnny Go SJ, who holds a doctorate in education from University College London and the National Institute of Education in Singapore, is the education secretary for Jesuit primary and secondary schools throughout the Asia-Pacific region. He is also the director of the Science and Art of Learning and Teaching Institute (SALT) of the Ateneo de Manila University. In his speech, he summarised the method that he and his colleague Rita propose in the book "Learning by refraction", which is synthesised in connecting with the context and provoking in the student not only learning but also a subsequent construction through it (refracting).  For Go, leadership in an Ignatian school is not only administrative, but of the community and of the Mission, and involves encouraging an integral formation that unites the academic with the other personal skills of leadership, and among the most important of these is the relationship of the community itself with the Mission so that it becomes involved in it. In summary, Go said that learning by refraction, "must help students to build on the ideas we give them, it is a learning process in continuous revision in which teachers must be designers". He invited those present to think also about the way in which Ignatian identity permeates the centres, whether spontaneously or in a directed way, whether inserted in the academic or in the extra-academic.  Rita Atienza is a Master of Education from Ateneo de Manila University, an expert in the Understanding by Design (UbD) curriculum design framework and coordinator of Teacher Education and Professional Development at the SALT Institute in Manila and co-author of the above-mentioned book.   Why do we need to make changes? Why these reforms now? -she invited the audience to think. Content is now available on You tube, Instagram, Tik-tok... Those are the sources of information, "but other skills that you need to learn such as critical thinking, communication skills, compassion, cooperative, resilience... things you need to generate solutions. In his opinion, we need to speak the language of the Alpha Generation sitting in the sj classrooms, applying elements that manage to ground IPP, which is very universal and classical.  Jesuitas España 
At the end of February the Board of Directors of JECSE (Jesuit European Committee for Primary and Secondary Education) met in the city of Alicante (Spain) hosted by the community of San Francisco Javier and Colegio Inmaculada. JECSE is one of the European interprovincial collaboration networks belonging to the Jesuit Conference of European Provincials. Three of the five members of the Board of Directors, Antonio Allende, SJ (Spain), Brian Flannery (Ireland) and Agnieszka Baran, Director of JECSE (Poland) were able to attend the meeting. During the three-day meeting they discussed, among other things, the analysis of the European reality of education, which is so diverse in our schools, in order to establish the basic guidelines for the next ten years. Agnieszka Baran and Brian Flannery stayed in Alicante until Friday to participate in the meeting The Erasmus Brightest Day which took place in the school Inmaculada de Alicante, organized by this school together with Nuestra Señora de Montesión (Palma) and Jesuitas Educació (Cataluña). The day was held with schools in the eastern area in mind and was led by internationalisation coordinators Aitor Bilbao (Inmaculada School), María Grandio (Montesión) and Marta Munté (Jesuitas Educació) The meeting was attended by Quim Molina (area coordinator of this EDUCSI), Mr. Andrés Ajo (director of the School and Adult Unit of SEPIE (Spanish Service for the Internationalisation of Education, attached to the Ministry of Universities), Roberto Garrido (director of Inmaculada School), Miguel Poza and Antoni Parellada, among others. The aim was to publicise the work carried out through the different Erasmus+ projects in which our schools participate, to establish common work networks and to encourage the rest of the schools to work on the issue of internationalisation with the help of the European funds provided by Erasmus+. There were different round tables on global citizenship and internationalisation, good practices of teachers in exchange programmes, mid-stay or teacher training, presentations on what the Erasmus+ programme is and its future challenges, as well as testimonies of students sharing their experiences. Agnieska and Brian left Alicante grateful for the hospitality of the community and the school, and with homework for the future: how to encourage our schools in Europe to make use of this tool and others that help the internationalisation of our students.  Jesuitas España