A hundred glorious years to 'Bejai School'

Centenarian

Celebrations are on the way for St Francis Xavier Higher Primary School at Bejai, which completes 100 years of meaningful existence.

The institution, popularly recognised in short as just ‘Bejai School,’ is known for its ideology of religious tolerance, and deserves a special and prominent place in the educational map of the district. St Francis Xavier is its patron and the motto of the school is ‘Lucem Spero,’ meaning, “It is light I hope for”.

The school owes its visionary efforts to the chaplains and parish priests of the St Francis Xavier Church, during whose tenure it grew in strength. In 1912, for instance, Rev Fr Sebastian Noronha, the resident chaplain, built a parish school for Catholic boys of the region. The structure, roofed on bamboo and covered in lattice, was built adjacent to the northern verandah of the Church.

There were classes, from one to three, with a total of 112 students. The school was recognised by the then Madras Presidency in 1915 as a lower elementary school.
Equally important is the contribution of Rev Fr A A E C Colaco, who served as the parish priest of the St Francis Xavier’s Church and as the manager of the school, from 1922 to 1936. Under his stewardess, the school attained enormous progress. A new building was also constructed in 1929.

The classes were extended up to eighth standard, following which, the school was elevated to the grade of higher elementary in 1933.

In 1940, a bifurcation of the school took place, resulting in the birth of the Lourdes Higher Primary School, directed towards imparting education exclusively to girls. Both the schools were merged in 2000 and the school has been offering co-education till date.

At present, the school is aided by the government and has eight teaching staff members, including the head teacher Lona E C Rodrigues. Three teachers are appointed by the government and five by the management. The school has a strength of 210 students, from Classes one to seven, with 113 boys and 97 girls. The medium of instruction is Kannada.

Church parish priest and the school convenor Rev Fr Wilson Vitus D’Souza said that the school had been providing free education irrespective of caste, creed, and gender, with an aim of making students responsible citizens of the nation. With such an aim in mind, the students are also being trained classical dance, yoga, crafts and computer education.
“Even though the number of students has dwindled over the years, the management is committed to provide quality education to children,” he said, adding that various development projects have been planned for the school.

The school has contributed several teachers, educationists, scientists, doctors, engineers, advocates, social workers and elected representatives to the society, who have, in turn, been working in India and abroad. Also, many of the alumni of the school have been serving as priests and nuns under various congregations across the nation.
 

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