School Of The Week

Brief history of DAV College

Written By : SUN FIJI NEWSROOM. It was in 1950 that the Arya Pratinidhi Sabha of Fiji (the controlling authority of the college) realised the dire need for a secondary
22 Jul 2009 12:00

image Written By : SUN FIJI NEWSROOM. It was in 1950 that the Arya Pratinidhi Sabha of Fiji (the controlling authority of the college) realised the dire need for a secondary school in Fiji and in particular in Suva to cater for the post – primary education of many of our Primary school leavers.
At the time there was only one Secondary School in Suva, namely, the Marist Brothers High School in Suva Street.
The situation was grave as Marist was for boys only and as for the other denominational schools, students could not be easily admitted.
At that time apart from the government Natabua Secondary School there was no other secondary school in Fiji.
In one of his writings the late Pandit Gopendra Narayan Pathik, who was then the General Secretary of the Sabha and who was familiar with the workings of DAV College in India, said that he put up a suggestion to the Sabha to commence DAV Secondary classes at the Arya Samaj Mandir (as it was then called – next to the now Fiji Institute of Technology) at Samabula.
To perpetuate the memory of Swami Dayanand and to carry forward his mission in India, the DAV College Trust and Management Society was established in January, 31, 1885 with the main object of imparting education which should have its roots in the fundamental values of Indian culture but which should be liberalized to assimilate new elements of thought, science and technology suited to changing modern needs.
That marked the birth of the Dayanand Anglo – Vedic (DAV) Movement the inclusion of the word, “Anglo” Signifying the need for learning foreign languages with a view to giving a new orientation in education for modernisation and up to dateness.

Commencement of classes:
Pandit Pathik has said that in preparation for the start of classes in 1951 the Mandir was painted during the Christmas holidays by volunteers.
The Sabha decided to get an experienced Principal from India for the proposed College and correspondence was entered into but the person who was ear – marked became a parliamentarian, hence he could not come.
It was then decided to call Pandit Ami Chandra “Vidyalankar” MA Dip Ed. From Arya Kanya Pathshala, Yalalevu, Ba. Hence in January, 1952 the respected Panditji opened the DAV College at the Arya Mandir and was made its first principal.
The school opened with a roll of 40 students, the very next day after the opening, Suva experienced a severe and devasting hurricane.
Some students either returned home if they could or they took shelter in nearby shops in Samabula.
Some hid under a shop counter hearing the collapsing of the top floor of the shop. At around miday the force of the wind subsided.
Because of the hurricane the college remained closed for a week, although the college opened with a roll of 40 students, when classes actually began in February, 4, 1952 it had 80 students on roll of which 25 were girls.
Within a short period of two years (1952 to 1953) the College was on a strong footing and the students roll increased to 200 with 39 girls. The boys stayed at Samabula Arya Mandir until 1954 when they moved to the temporary labour barracks at Samabula three miles.
This area was an Army camp (B Camp as it was called) during the Second World War.
The Sabha had bought a number of these barracks for the college.
Some of these barracks were dismantled and brought to where the DAV girls College now stands and the same barracks were put together and became the Arya Samaj Primary School.
One such barrack still stands there as part of the school whereas two others gave way to concrete that they were vacated every evening for the use of labourers working at the Suva wharf during the day and who slept in the barracks at night.

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