The Brothers of the Christian Schools (or La Salle brothers) were invited to Singapore to establish SJI in 1852. Except for a short break of five years, they have been here since that time.
They were founded in 1680 by a French priest, John Baptist de La Salle. He had been deeply moved by the way in which “the children of the artisans and the poor” were abandoned and left to themselves. He became aware, that unless something was done, many of these children would be lost to their religion and to society.
He devoted himself to forming schoolmasters totally dedicated to the education of young people, especially the poor. He brought these teachers together in a community and subsequently founded with them the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools.
This group of men chose to be called “Brothers” instead of schoolmasters since it was their desire to be brothers to each other and older brothers to the young people they taught.
Alert to the needs of his time, La Salle was an innovator in the development of teacher training programmes and in curricular and teaching practices. Very early, he recognised that the work of teachers was not merely a job or an occupation; it was a vocation, a special calling worthy of respect. God was calling them to make a positive difference in the lives of the children confided to their care. That is still their mission.
La Salle was one of the early Catholic proponents of universal education. In his school, every child, rich or poor, was to receive the same quality education and the same attentive care.
Today there are 7,000 La Salle Brothers and 50,000 La Sallian teachers working in 83 countries around the world, teaching in Universities, Special Education Centres for the disabled and Schools. SJI is one of these Lasallian schools.
For more information about the La Salle Brothers, please see their website at http://www.lasalle.org/.