Harare, (New Ziana) – One of the country’s oldest boys high schools, St George’s College this year celebrates its 125th
anniversary in the provision of faith based education that has seen the institution evolve to also enrol girls for the first time since its establishment, an official has said.
The school was opened on January 13, 1896 in Bulawayo by a French Jesuit priest, Marc Barthelemy with an initial intake of six boys.
As it grew overtime, the college relocated to the capital city Salisbury, now Harare, in 1927 to the place it is currently located.
The school, previous white only, began enrolling black students in the 1960 despite strong opposition from the colonial government as it sought to be all inclusive.
Overtime it has produced leaders currently dominating in various spheres both locally and internationally.
Current headmaster, John Farrelly said the decision to enrol girls, only at Advanced Level, was taken by the school Board of Governor’s three years ago and was in line with Jesuit Apostolic Preferences also “include the excluded.”
“Female students had been excluded from a Jesuit Education at St George’s College since 1896,” he said.
In line with the new development, St George’s enrolled the first group of 29 female lower six students in 2020.
Farelly insisted the decision to enroll girls was not a “break from history”.
“History is a continuum and we are merely adapting to change and taking history forward,” he said.
And commenting on the suitability of the learning environment dominated by boys for female learners, Farelly said: “Our guiding principle was always that the College had robust structures in place to allow for the safeguarding of female students within the school. This was carefully planned for and at all times the new female students have been consulted as to the suitability of these structures for them.”
He said the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic, which had seen schools being closed for the better part of last year had not allowed the institution “to evaluate the full aspect of all student life here at the College” for the girl students.
“The recently released examination results showing a 98 pass rate at AS level shows that all students, including the girls, performed exceptionally well despite the adversity that they faced last year due to the pandemic,” he said.
He said the college would in future consider enrollment of girls for Ordinary Level.
The college’s Rector, Father Joe Arimoso said various events had been lined up for the institution’s 125th anniversary which is running under the theme, “Celebrating faith, family and action.”
The events would however be adjusted with current Covid-19 regulations, he said.
St Georges, he said, was established “purely out of the love for education.”