A book … paying tribute to an educationist from Goa


My cyber-critic (with whom I have a strange equation of jousting on mailnig-lists but also sharing some common interests … and having very different perspectives though which we understand Goa) Cecil Pinto thrust two copies of Principal Edward J Soares 1898-1955 (2006, limited copies, not for sale) when we met up last at his office, with Domnic.

This book is devoted to an educationist from a village in Bardez, “a visionary educationist who believed in the refining power of discipline”. Soares was the founder-principal of St Thomas High School at Aldona, which has been going strong since 1923.

Those who have even a nodding acquaintance with the history of the Bardez taluka of Goa would know the big role migration played here. Over the decades. Schools like St Joseph’s (Arpora), Mater Dei (Saligao), and later St Britto’s (Mapusa), St Anthony (Guirim), St Mary’s (Mapusa) etc played a key role. It helped in preparing youngsters from this moribund Portuguese colony of those times to learn English skills, travel far and wide, and take advantage of the growing colonially-defined English “global” markets.

So, do does education give certain localities a head-start? Or, do those villages which already have a head-start invest more in better educational options? Or, is it just a checken-and-egg situation? We’ll never know ….

This 64-page book focuses on the educationist, his family.. and has some tributes penned by others. It would be nice if these could be shared via cyberspace (specially via Aldona-Net) so that the “oral history” of what makes Goa could be kept alive. There are also two essays on “education today — reflections and suggestions”. One useful listing is of all those who passed out from this school, till 1955.

Was surprised to learn (while discussing this book) that Fr Anil Soares sj came from this family… I knew him as a principal of Britto’s who was willing to use the Jesuit-run school to teach poor children from a Mspusa construction colony in the afternoons in the 1980s… and experiment I volunteered in for awhile.

It would have been nice if this book was priced. Or even made copyefted (both are not contradictory ideas!) Maybe, one day, it could grow into a more comprehensive book about Aldona village, if there isn’t one already.  It’s edited by Antonio V Francisco Fernandes and you could get more details from Savio Figueiredo of Rendeep Cybercafe in Aldona.

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