Few Jesuit educational institutions include stables
and chicken coops. The Jesuits are better known for general education at all
levels than for vocational training. In Madagascar as well, the Society of
Jesus runs many schools and higher education programmes. In a poor country like
this, however, the Jesuits have chosen to invest heavily in a vocational
training centre in Bevalala, south of the capital Antananarivo.
The coordinator of the Bevalala CFP is Jesuit Jacques
Mananto, who summarises for us the history of this exceptional institution:
“When the Bevalala Professional Training Centre was
created in 1973, the aim was to provide training for young rural people who
wanted to become entrepreneurs in agriculture and animal husbandry. In an effort
to modernise and professionalise traditional practices, the centre offered, and
still offers, ten intensive two-week training modules on the basics of agriculture
and animal husbandry. The modules include rice growing, dairy cows, poultry,
fruit trees, vegetable crops, etc.
In 1985, a new kind of course was created, masonry, and
a few years later the centre became a high school.
In 1993, the centre’s 20th anniversary, a
university section was created that included a school for agriculture (the École supérieure professionnelle agricole
- EPSA) and a school for construction and public works (the École supérieure de bâtiment et des travaux
publics - ESBTP). These are all part of U-Magis - the Society’s global
project for higher education in Madagascar. These institutions offer academic
training up to Master’s Level for those who want to go further.
this is a vocational school, various productive farms (dairy cows, chickens,
pigs, cheese factory, etc.) have been set up to provide pedagogical and
financial support. There is also a construction co-operative. Overall, the
school’s production environment aims to provide useful skills to those who
graduate and so to make them highly employable.”