Although St. Francis Xavier started the first Jesuit college by name St Paul’s College, in Goa, India in 1942, the first official document on ‘why’ and ‘how’ of Jesuit Education (Ratio Studiorum) came out only in 1591. Later it was revised twice in 1832 and 1910 giving new directions to Jesuit Education. By that time Jesuits were known as the “schoolmasters of Europe!”

In 1973 Fr Pedro Arrupe redefined the goal of Jesuit Education as “Forming men (and women) for others”. While promulgating the “Characteristics of Jesuit Education” in 1986, Fr. Peter Hans Kolvenbach wrote that Jesuit Education is to enhance competence, conscience, commitment, and compassion in students. 

It was in 1993, that the Society of Jesus introduced a new methodology of Education namely, the Ignatian Pedagogical Paradigm (IPP). This process starts with the understanding of the context through the experience of the reality (Exposure), followed by a critical reflection of the experience using scientific tools of analysis and some mini action projects. Finally, evaluate the preceding processes with PRAXIS (Action-Reflection-Action).

While inaugurating the international Conference of Jesuit Universities in April 2010 in Mexico City, Fr. Adolfo Nicolas said that the criteria for Jesuit Education are “Reflection of the experience of reality together with creative imagination to work towards construction of a more human, just, sustainable and faith-filled world.”

What is the goal of Education Today?

Today, Education is basically looked up as a passport to a get a job! Imparting knowledge and developing technical skills seem to be the goal of education. With higher education degrees and sophisticated skills, students get better opportunities in the job market. This is what is called a market-driven education system! Ethics and values have become slogans to camouflage the quality of education. The net result is that the biggest crimes are often committed by highly educated people in the world!  Why this is happening? By and large Educational institutions want to increase the employability of their students by imparting the latest knowledge and skills. Critical Reflection is missing from the educational process. Critical Reflection has to be initiated by asking questions about one’s experiences that affect the cognitive, affective, and conative dimensions of personality, leading to Awareness! It is an insight of self and the reality outside, which has a historical and cultural background. Only by developing Critical awareness, one can ensure creative actions which lead to peace and happiness!  Thus the goal of education is to help the students to develop a critical awareness of themselves and the social realities around them. Awareness is an all-encompassing process that affects our thinking, feeling, and behaviors. So we need a paradigm shift in the methodology of Education today!