The latest JRS-JC:HEM site, Loyola Campus, was launched on 14 September in Vavuniya, Sri Lanka. This is the second JRS-JC:HEM site in the country providing tertiary education to war-affected youth and professionals in northern Sri Lanka. Located on Horowapothana Road, Rambaikulam, Vavuniya, the JRS building was redesigned to provide two classrooms, each equipped with 20 computers. Two certificate four-month courses are offered at Loyola Campus, Vavuniya: certificate courses in English as a Foreign Language (EFL) and a certificate course in Computer Applications: Graphic Design for Desktop Publishing. 62 students have recently completed their course work in January and will graduate this coming month. Currently, in the second batch, there are 49 students enrolled in English and 11 enrolled in Computer Applications.
“We are happy to have this center in Vavuniya to offer this rich tradition of Jesuit formation of young individuals. More than just in the classroom setting, more than books, more than just mere following a syllabus… forming individuals who are more sensitive, who are more attune to the needs of society today.”–Thiranjala Weerasinghe, Vavuniya Site Coordinator
Loyola Campus aims to help students discover and improve different skillsets through a number of exercises. The pedagogy moves away from traditional techniques of memorizing and cogitation, which is often the case in mainstream education. Through a number of activities–speech practices, reading, writing, group work, online presentations, film reviews, peer discussion, community-based teaching and projects–the center expects to improve the level of confidence in students while helping them approach education and learning as a joyful activity. While theoretical aspects receive important attention, Loyola Campus challenges its students to bring the knowledge they have learned from the classroom out into the community, by teaching classes of their own. Loyola Campus has also commenced training programs in which selected students– whom have received a certificate in either EFL (intermediate level) or Computer Applications–are taught the skills and given the on-site practical experience to become future track facilitators. After a sufficient amount of professional training and evaluation, these individuals are provided not only employment, but also an opportunity to serve the very community they live in.