The schools of the Latin Patriarchate were created when the Patriarchate was re-established in 1847. The Patriarch at the time, H.B. Joseph Valerga, saw it as a way to reach Christian families in different towns and villages. Even today, by participating in the education and school education of children, the Latin Church is present daily in the Christian communities formed by families. By the same token, the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem has become a stakeholder that promotes the interests and welfare of local communities.
The Patriarchate now has 43 schools spread across Jordan, Palestine and Israel. In these institutions, every effort is made to ensure that students develop in a healthy environment and receive a high-quality education. Education is a diocesan priority because good training is a source of hope for younger generations and their families. Because of this, the Patriarchate is committed to providing it to all children, from kindergarten to high school.
Although fee-paying, these schools are accessible to everyone, regardless of families’ income. The poorest families are exempt from tuition fees. This policy would not be possible without donations and the major financial support of the Knights of the Order of the Holy Sepulcher.
The Patriarchate schools employ nearly 1,800 teachers, administrators and educators, and provide education to more than 19,000 children.
In Jordan and Palestine, they are not recognized by the state. The authorities in these countries, however, provide textbooks and grants for specific programs. In order to preserve these aids and to obtain new ones, the Patriarchate must adhere to the educational requirements of the education ministries, by proposing and maintaining a high level of training of teachers and good-quality infrastructures. In Palestine, keeping schools open is sometimes problematic given the low incomes of families, many of whom are affected by unemployment.
In Israel, the role of the Patriarchate schools has been recognized since 1989. Despite their significant decline in 2017, the subsidies partly cover teachers’ salaries and enable them to face many financial challenges.
Convinced that the environment in which children between the ages of three and five years old live is decisive in the development of their learning capacity and their character, the general directorate of the schools of the Latin Patriarchate has opened establishments that cater to the youngest, kindergartens. Primary and secondary schools then lead students to the equivalent of the caccalaureate, Tawjihi. Consequently, children are accompanied from a very young age to the beginning of adulthood.
Educational reform and teacher training
To meet the current expectations of students and ministries, the school management has launched a major program of reforms that aims to put students back at the center of the system, improve professional monitoring of teachers and increase the autonomy of schools.
Thus, each school’s mission today is to propose a policy of training and career support for teachers to increase their motivation and in this way provide a better quality of teaching and learning for students.
Always looking for improvement
Compared to other public or private schools, the infrastructure of the Patriarchate schools is in some areas aging. However, our schools are committed to applying modern educational methods in line with respective governments’ requirements, whether for school, sports or cultural activities.
Every year, new projects are created to improve the teaching and education of students: rehabilitation projects to offer refurbished spaces, projects to modernize the equipment. Most of these projects are partially or fully supported by donors.
Schools also offer students complementary programs, which can be educational, recreational and social:
- “Global Generation” program, which promotes exchange with other students via Skype.
- Welcoming pupils from the United States that visits Palestine and Jordan on pilgrimage via the HOPE program. Work on strengthening relations with schools in Nablus and Beit Jala, with different educational programs, is also being promoted.
- Conducting workshops for second-grade students of the Ramallah School, focusing on coexistence and interreligious dialogue in the light of citizenship and pluralism.
- Partnership with the Réseau Barnabé, a French organization that supports the teaching of French (offers of internships in France for local teachers, sending of volunteers for summer camps), and acts as an intermediary to set up twin actions between institutions of the Holy Land and French schools.
Teaching in faith and in favor of peace
At the beginning of 2017, 18,224 students were enrolled in Latin Patriarchate schools (today the number is about 19,900). Among them, Christians of course, but not only. The registration is done without any religious discrimination.
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Why keep, maintain and develop these schools?
Today, as before, Latin Patriarchate schools constitute the majority of Catholic and Christian schools in Palestine. Without these schools, thousands of Christian children, living in predominantly non-Christian communities, would be forced to go to public schools, where the general atmosphere and mentalities are totally foreign to the Christian faith. For example, Sunday, the Lord’s Day, is not a holiday.
The schools of the Latin Patriarchate offer a better environment par excellence for religious vocations and ecumenism. Since their creation, they have been welcoming students from all communities, all denominations and offering them solid religious, moral and intellectual training.
These schools work together on the human and social development of the populations in need. Thus, supporting them can limit the Christian emigration from villages to cities, or even abroad.
Website of the LPJ schools: https://latin-schools.org/en
To watch a presentation of our schools, supported by the Order of the Holy Sepulchre:
Directorate of Patriarchal Schools
Fr. Yacoub Rafidi
Email: [email protected]
Fr. Firas Nasrawin
Mobile: 077 566 67 38
Email: [email protected]
Fr. Eli Kurzum
Email: [email protected]