On Saturday 2nd March, 2019, over five hundred people, including students, graduates and their families, ICFP staff and Marists for the largest graduation ceremony in the college’s history. The celebrations commenced with Mass in the Baucau Cathedral Hall (the cathedral is being renovated) lead by the Vicar General of the Diocese, Monsignor Francisco Pinheiro e Silva. The formal graduation ceremony was held in the former marketplace of Portuguese times, now renovated as a public ceremonial space for significant events in the town.
Forty seven young Timorese graduated from the Bachelor of Teaching three year course and twenty-seven graduated with the Licentiate course. The 4th year of study, introduced in 2018 and approved by Government authorities completing the Licentiate is the principal reason for the increase in graduate numbers. In Portuguese speaking countries, students must complete a Licentiate before commencing a Master’s degree.
Director of the ICFP Teacher Training College, Brother Paul Gilchrist remarked that “this year’s graduation marks a new phase in the life of ICFP as a key provider of highly qualified future teachers for this young nation”.
The occasion was attended by Timor-Leste Government officials and significant funding groups for the program, including the Australian Government Embassy and the members the board of eMerge Foundation based in Sydney. The chairman of the Foundation, Mr Ian MacRitchie, was a guest in the academic procession. With over two thirds of the students supported by scholarships from Australian benefactors, the students and Australian Marist Solidarity expressed their gratitude to these and other generous donors and partners.
Marists have been involved in this project since its inception in 2003 as the founding administrators. Now, all the undergraduate teaching is primarily carried out by very professionally trained Timorese professors, most of whom have post graduates qualifications in education from Australian Catholic University.
AMS extends its thanks to all the supporters of ICFP for the ongoing commitment to scholarships, running costs of the college and education in Timor-Leste through ICFP and these new teachers.