Aloysius celebrates silver jubilee of opening gates to girls

Addressing the silver jubilee celebration ‘Glory to womanhood’ after the College had its first batch of girl students in 1986, Fr Leo looked back on the time and the decision which has become a milestone in the history of the College.

“Jesuits are known as educators world wide. However, we neglected the social aspect. We kept half of mankind away from getting the benefits of education. Hence, there was a need to think on this serious issue,” said Fr D’Souza.

“It was not an easy task. The boys in Aloysius had a sense of identity and space. There were also prejudices against women in society regarding gaining higher education,” he said.

St Aloysius opened its gates for women in 1985 but as only three had applied, they had to be moved to other colleges. However in 1986, one girl had applied to study in the PUC electronics course. Since that day, the number started increasing and today there are several departments which have girls outnumbering boys.

Social Worker and School of Social Work Roshni Nilaya Founder Principal Dr Olinda Pereira said that even Roshni Nilaya faced a similar problem in 1967 when they got affiliated to the University of Mysore in 1987. “To start a PG course, it was compulsory to have a co-education and it was something we had to think about. Then we thought we shall call Roshni Nilaya a women’s institution that enrolls men,” said Pereira and added that the institution never faced any problems after enrolling men.

“It is the way we approach and face changes that success and failures come about,” said Pereira after inaugurating the celebration by unveiling a plaque.

“With co-education, the usual mindset of ‘boys vs girls’ became ‘boys and girls’ encouraging team work. It gave way to healthy competition and co-operation,” said former bureaucrat Giselle Mehta, speaking on the occasion.

“Co-education should be a balanced self discovery. It should help to follow the aptitudes of passion. The whole co-education exercise is based on autonomy than on control. It requires a lot of maturity,” she said and added that people who have studied in a co-education are more comfortable with themselves than the ones who have studied in only boys or girls institutions.

“Women once upon a time used to feel uneasy to step into Aloysius and today the scenario has totally changed. Women are creative as they see reality in a different perspective,” said College Principal Rev Fr Swebert D’Silva SJ.

Presiding over the programme, College Rector Fr Joseph Rodrigues SJ said that men and women have to live together in the institution of marriage. With co-education, one can put an end to prejudices. There is also a scope for healthy friendships, he added.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, College Vice Principal Judith Pinto said a year long celebration has been planned. Various competitions will be conducted and every College association will give highlight women’s issues, she said.

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