Mangaluru: August 21, 2015: Celebrations are on the way as the 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, Rev Fr Sebastian Noronha, the resident chaplain, built a parish school for Catholic boys of the region. There were a total of 112 students. The school was recognised by the then Madras Presidency in 1915 as a lower elementary school.
Under Rev Fr A A E C Colaco’s 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. The school has a strength of 210 students, from classes one to seven. The medium of instruction is Kannada.
Church parish priest and the school convenor Rev Fr Wilson Vitus D’Souza said that the school has 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.