The Jesuit Education Apostolate, whose office supports the running and functioning of 18 schools (primary, secondary and a tertiary college), has launched the Jesuit Graduate Teacher Development Programme. This is a Post Graduate Programme that targets high school teachers in Jesuit schools that have a first teaching degree but do not have a teacher professional qualification.

This is a 2 year programme that will include practice based learning, Ignatian Pedagogical learning, mentorship and educational research in addition to the UNISA PGCE Curriculum. Ten Jesuit – Beit Scholars were selected by school Heads in consultation with their Rectors or Jesuit Superiors to receive the Jesuit – Beit Trust Scholarships for the studies.

Speaking at the introductory workshop for School Heads Mentors and the Scholars, the Education Delegate, Fr Joe Arimoso SJ stressed the need for Jesuit Schools to entrench the characteristics of Jesuit Education in their practice.

“Jesuit Schools in Zimbabwe are consciously responding the realities of 21st Century Teaching and Learning. Today’s learners learn interactively, learning mostly on their own and teachers are confronted with classrooms that need learning environments that are self-organized, interactive and tolerant of different learning styles” He said.

“This programme will ensure that teachers in our schools have skills that facilitate 21st century learning themes such as   collaborative learning, relevant communication skills, Creative Thinking Skills, Critical Thinking Skills, which are Ignatian in nature”. Concluding the Jesuit Graduate Teacher Development programme is one way of equipping Teachers in Jesuit Schools with necessary skills that make them relevant as practitioners in the era of 21st Century Teaching and Learning.

Mr. Colbert Mpofu, the Project Coordinator at the Jesuit Province Education Office was also pleased that the programme had taken off and was quick to say that this was a beginning of a long term Continued Professional Development programme for teachers in Jesuit Schools.

“This programme is particularly important for the Province and the Assistancy as a whole in that in addition to the mainstream Teacher Education Curriculum, we are for the first time formalizing training and the formation of teachers in Ignatian Pedagogy and Ignatian Spirituality”.

“This is just a beginning and we hope that this programme will grow and provide us with long term Teacher Retention plans that will supply teachers who have been formed in the ideals of Jesuit Education for our schools.”

The Graduate Teacher Development Programme falls under Key Result Area 8 of “Unlocking the Future: The Jesuit Education Recovery and Development Programme in Zimbabwe”. Of the 15 key result areas for this programme, the Jesuit Province Education Office is currently active in nine Result Areas and continuously seeks for support and assistance in implementing the other result areas.