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A Living Tradition​​Part 3: Global Identifiers of Jesuit Schools, Section 6

6. Jesuit Schools are committed to being Accessible to All

  1. In a 1980 document entitled Our Secondary Schools: Today and Tomorrow, then Superior General Pedro Arrupe wrote:
  2. “We are committed to educate any class of person, without distinction. It cannot be otherwise, because the educational apostolate (just as every other apostolate of the Society) bears the indelible Ignatian imprint of universality… Because the secondary schools of the Society are necessarily instruments of the apostolate —and are therefore subject in principle to the radical gratuity of our ministries, and to our poverty— their availability to students cannot be conditioned by ability to pay. This statement of principle is our ideal.” [58]
  3. The ideal of access to people of all social classes is more difficult to achieve because the costs of education have increased since 1980 with the decline of religious staff and the crucial need to provide lay colleagues with a just wage. In addition, expenses have been driven by consumer demand for high-quality facilities and the need to invest in technology.
  4. Some of our schools have a heavy reliance upon tuition and fees that may exclude those from middle and lower classes.
  5. Without income from philanthropy or government, a process of elitism could seem to be inevitable.
  6. It is important to recognize important initiatives to provide educational opportunities to the materially poor such as Fe y Alegria, Nativity and Cristo Rey schools.
  7. However, more affluent schools cannot become selective gated communities for the elite, driving people apart instead of bringing them closer. These schools must find ways to be open to all regardless of their ability to pay.
  8. A Jesuit school is not segregated; it provides a gateway of opportunity for the poor and it also provides an environment that challenges the comfortable through the socioeconomic diversity of the members if its community.
  9. A Jesuit school, responding to the Universal Apostolic second Preference of Walking with the poor and the outcasts, must integrate them within the world of the school as fellow students, human beings of the same dignity. Vulnerable, marginalized communities should become companions of our schools to help us in the path of promoting social justice and the change of economic, political, and social structures that generate injustice. [59]

Exercise 24. For discernment:

  1. How do you assess this challenge?
  2. What are the most significant obstacles?
  3. How can we adapt this challenge for all Jesuit schools so that it reflects the greater good?
  4. In this context, what has your educational apostolate done?
  5. What should your educational apostolate be doing?
  1. Arrupe, P. (1980). Our Secondary Schools: Today and Tomorrow. 7-8. Available in: http://www.sjweb.info/documents/education/arr_colegios_en.pdf
  2. https://jesuits.global/en/uap/walking-with-the-excluded