N K ASHOKBHARAN

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Learning through the ‘Royal’ way!

Posted by nkashokbharan on December 28, 2010

175 years of rich and proud history our Alma Mater celebrates this year! Where rests that history? Is it the magnificent building? Is it the old proud stories? Or is it simply the survival for 175 years? No, clearly not. The Proud History of Mother Royal is her sons, great personalities; she is producing throughout the ages. If not for the ‘Great Royalists’ mother Royal produced, Royal would have been just another school which is existing for a century and a half and more.

Every school intends to nurture its pupils with the objective of producing ‘better citizens’. Every school enriches the student with knowledge, skill and discipline to succeed in life. Every school aims to mould pupil into gentlemen and gentle-ladies. If it is the same motive, aim & objective all schools share, why are they different to each other? It’s not the aim or the final destination which is important but it’s the conduit through which you choose to attain the objective which is important. Though every school aims to mould its pupils into ‘good citizens’, the paths they follow are different. Some schools follow strict academic discipline, some follow good athletic discipline, some follow certain religion based discipline and some choose a fusion of those. Royal College, being one of the pioneer educational institutions in Sri Lanka has followed a unique path to nurture young Royalists into great personalities. I shall call this the ‘Royal Way’. The ‘Royal Way’ is defined very well in the College Song by our former Principal Maj.H.L.Reed. He inscribes, ‘School where our fathers, learnt the way before us, learnt of books and learnt of men, through thee we’ll do the same. True to our watch word Disce Aut Discede, we will learn of books and men and learn to play the game’. What other ameliorated words could we find to define the ‘Royal Way’! Those words, every Royalist sings through their lusty throats, with pride from their hearts which are sound as oak, every day at school and at all august assemblies, keeps on reminding the path every Royalist should follow to conquer success!

What does the College Song enunciate? What ‘unique path’ does it elucidate? It is a common credence of every archetypal Sri Lankan family that ‘education’ is the most imperative virtue of all. Our community has always been giving very high priority and importance to education, which is very aptly reflected in our public policy of free education. But does ‘education’ limits itself to books, assignments, and exams? No says modern educationalists. 21st century educationalists clearly deny such stereo type ideologies. If education is to provide a foundation for life, then it cannot limit itself to books. It was very later; perhaps after 1980s these modern thoughts started influencing the Sri Lankan educational system. But in 1930s itself Royal College introduced this ‘modern’ thought into practice. To nurture a person, books alone are insufficient. Thus the College Song says ‘we will learn of book and men and learn to play the game’. If the education we receive cannot support our future life and provide as with a foundation to success, what use that education shall be? We might have read a thousand books, might have memorized a thousand theories, what use will it be if we cannot move with this society? We might proudly hold first class degrees perhaps a PhD too, but what will all those credits count for if we cannot compete in this society? So, it is very obvious that just books, just only books will not help to nurture a ‘complete’ man. It’s a part of education; perhaps an important part but only books don’t formulate complete education. Once Winston Churchill said in a sense of satire, “My education was interrupted only by my schooling”, I’m sure had he studied at Royal College he would not have said that. I’m not vaunting, neither do I intend to but I feel that what the typical school education is lacking and making it boring, that fissure is very well closed at Royal College. Royal does not only nourish knowledge from books but also gives opportunity to learn about men (people and society) and to learn the game (not only the sporting games but also the game of life). To elaborate on that, Today Royal College has more than fifty active clubs and societies, most of them have a rich history of more than 50 years. Every club and society activity is enriched with great life experience. Every time a student involves in a society or club activity he gains immense and valuable experience which no books could provide him. In working with his colleagues, who may share different opinions, he learns the diversities in society and he trains himself to survive in this society or in a better sense succeed in this society. Royal also provides many sporting facilities, comprising of more than 20 sports including the most famous Cricket and Rugby, sporting is a passionate tradition at Royal. These co-curricular and extra-curricular activities supplemented to Books, Research and Traditional Education, Royal doesn’t only produce good citizens but more than that great leaders to this society. This is the secret of success of Royal; this is the ‘Royal Way’ of approaching education.

Royal has always remained a ‘public school’, a school which is common for all ethnicities, races, classes and religions without any prejudice or discrimination. This does not mean there are no religious practices at Royal. All religions of Sri Lanka are proudly practiced and preached in Royal with harmony, because Royal appreciates the need of religions to cherish the values of pupils but Royal College doesn’t limit itself to any single religion but merrily accommodates all beliefs! This is another colossal reason why Royal has produced ‘complete men’ and ‘better Sri Lankans’.

May this ‘Royal Way’ enlighten many more Sri Lankans and be perpetual!

‘Floreat’

 

This piece of writing was published in the Souvenir of the Inaugural Clubs & Societies Felicitation Ceremony of Royal College. (2010)

 

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