The Malta Independent 18 November 2018, Sunday

The Malta Independent Online

Malta Independent Tuesday, 24 October 2006, 00:00 Last update: about 5 years ago

As from the next scholastic year, St Aloysius’ College students and teachers will no longer have a holiday on Wednesdays and school on Saturday, following the administration’s decision to adapt to the needs of families, The Malta Independent has learnt.

St Aloysius’ College is a Catholic independent day school for boys and is administered by the Society of Jesus. The original system of a mid-week holiday and school on Saturdays was introduced in St Aloysius’ Colleges around the world by St Ignatius of Loyola more than 500 years ago.

St Aloysius’ College in Malta was established in 1907 and next year will be celebrating its centenary. Since then, students attending the college had a midweek break replaced by a school-day on Saturday.

Speaking to The Malta Independent, St Aloysius’ College rector Patrick Magro confirmed the decision to abolish school on Saturdays and explained that since it formed part of the college’s tradition, it had been a very difficult decision to take.

“We are aware of the advantages of having a mid-week holiday and school on Saturdays instead. But we have to adapt to families’ needs and requirements.

“From replies we received to a questionnaire we prepared when we were still pondering on the idea, it resulted that many families feel that school on Saturdays was disrupting their routine and that no school on Wednesdays was creating problems for parents who had to work and had no choice but to leave their children at home on their own,” said Fr Magro.

He said that the school’s administration had reflected on the issue for a very long time and had, in the past, conducted surveys among students and parents in order to gauge what they thought about the traditional mid-week holiday.

He said the replies received in the latest questionnaire revealed that many of St Aloysius’ College students were staying home alone on Wednesdays because parents were working.

“In terms of educational needs, we still believe that a mid-week holiday was important for people to catch up on their studies, especially those attending sixth form. But one of our top

values is providing quality education in collaboration with parents and families. And this mid-week holiday was proving an obstacle for parents, so we decided to change it as from next year and give it a go,” he said.

Fr Magro said family life has become complicated and has changed over the years. He said the school’s administration was aware of this change and had decided to adapt to these needs.

The rector said the administration was presently studying how school hours could be changed.

In reply to a question, Fr Magro said that only a few of the schools set up by St Ignatius still have the mid-week holiday. One of these is the one in India.

The Collegium Melitense in Valletta was founded by the Jesuits in 1592. This first educational undertaking by the Jesuits in Malta prepared the way for the University of Malta, which was established when the Jesuits were expelled from Malta by Grand Master Pinto in 1769.

After an absence of nearly 100 years, a group of Jesuits from Sicily returned to Malta in 1868, this time to teach at the Seminary in Gozo, while a group of English Jesuits established St Ignatius’ College in St Julian’s.

On 8 October 1907, the Jesuits, at the request of Pope Saint Pius X, founded St Aloysius’ College in Birkirkara.

The student population at that time was 139 boys, whereas the present student population exceeds the 1,000 mark.

When asked what celebrations were in the pipeline to celebrate the college’s centenary, Fr Magro said a

committee is presently drawing up a programme of activities to mark this historic event.

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