With only 140 pupils when this secondary school opened its doors in 1929, the Royal College of Port Louis now welcomes around 715 students and has built a reputation of ‘star school’ through the years. The school marks this year the celebration of its 90th anniversary through a variety of activities that will be organized throughout the school year.
With 90 years of history and academic excellence, the Royal College of Port Louis (RCPL) has marked the educational landscape in Mauritius. Since its opening in 1929, the RCPL has strived to educate and instil values in the leaders of tomorrow and has catered for the welfare and happiness of its students. The secondary institution has in fact produced many personalities who have played key roles in the history of our country.
This year, it is through a calendar of activities that the ‘star school’ will be marking the celebration of its 90th anniversary. It is in a press conference on Tuesday 19th February, organized by the agency IMMEDIA, that the Rector of RCPL, Henry Wan, and the members of the Organizing Committee revealed the various activities that will take place throughout the school year.
“We did not want it to be a one-time event that took place only in a day. However, the activities have been programmed so as not to upset the smooth running of classes. These activities also coincide with the school's annual activities such as the celebration of Independence Day, the Prize Giving Day, Food Day and others. Sports competitions have already been launched, namely badminton and table tennis. The finals will be held during the last week of the first quarter of the school calendar,” said the Rector Henry Wan. He also underlined that social and community services, leisure and the environmental activities also feature on the calendar, namely with a project to clean and embellish the school premises and also the neighbourhood of Cassis.
The anniversary celebration will also be marked by three flagship activities, among a round table scheduled for Monday 18th March at 5pm at the Municipality of Port Louis. “The college has produced since its opening many personalities who have distinguished themselves and greatly contributed in different sectors in the country. With the aim to pay tribute to these patriots who have worked for the development of the Mauritian society, we have planned this round table,” explained Henry Wan. This event organised around of the theme ‘Royal College Port Louis Avant Hier, Hier ek Zordi ek so contribution dans developman societe moris’ will bring together many former students of the institution, among Rex Fanchette former Rector aged 82 years, Cassam Uteem former President of the Republic, Barlen Vyapoory Acting President of the Republic, the cardiologist Sunil Guness, among others. Shirin Aumeeruddy-Cziffra, Chair of the Public Bodies Appeal Tribunal, will act as moderator during the roundtable.
During the same occasion, a logo symbolizing the 90 years of the secondary institution was launched. The Royal College of Port Louis will also launch on 20th June its souvenir magazine to mark the event. On 10th August, a special relaxation day dedicated to the old boys will be organised with the collaboration of the ‘Old Royals Alunmi’ and a grand Gala dinner will be held in October. Former students who wish to communicate and keep in contact with the school can email on firstname.lastname@example.org.
History of the RCPL
It all started in 1791when the ‘College National’ becomes the first notable school on the island but it disappears soon. On 23rd September 1800, ‘L’École Centrale’ in Port Louis is inaugurated. A new building is inaugurated in 1805 as ‘Lycée des Iles de France et de Bourbon’. However, in 1810, the school is closed and converted into a military hospital during the French-British war. It is in 1811 that the British reopen the college under the name of ‘Collège Colonial’. It is only in 1817 that King George IV renames the school as ‘Royal College’. In 1818, Alfred Bigot becomes the first laureate. The school premises will be, however, damaged in 1819 by a cyclone.
In 1871, a branch of Royal College Mauritius opens in Curepipe. Unfortunately, again the school is completely damaged by a cyclone in 1892 and is shifted to Line Barracks. In 1899, the outbreak of plague leads to the transfer of school to Curepipe and in 1914, there is the opening of Royal College in Curepipe. It is in 1929 that the Royal College School will be inaugurated in Port Louis. The motto ‘Vitae non Scholae Discendum’ is introduced by Mr. André Glover in 1940.
In 1956, Princess Margaret lays the foundation stone at Cassis. In 1962, all students are accommodated in the same compound at Cassis. RCPL hosted the OCAMM summit in 1973. In 1977, the swimming pool of RCPL is inaugurated. In 1999, the RCPL receives ‘The Medal of the City of Port Louis’. In 2014, the RCPL celebrates its 85th anniversary at Cassis while RCC celebrates 100th anniversary at Curepipe.
Rector Henry Wan : “We need to engage the youth in social and volunteering activities”
In an interview, the rector of the RCPL Henry Wan shared that it is a first for the institution to organise a calendar of activities. “In these 90 years of existence, the college has greatly contributed to the socioeconomic development of the Mauritian society. We have produced throughout these years citizens who have become leaders of our society and who have and are excelling on the international platform as well.” Commenting on the violence among students, the rector stated that there are many factors which contribute to this.
In these 90 years of existence, the college has greatly contributed to the socioeconomic development of the Mauritian society."
“There is definitely great work which has to be done in order to put our youth on the right path. Many are for the introduction of civic courses at school. I believe that the introduction of fun and healthy activities based on the holistic development of the youth can definitely support and help put our students on the right track. Some countries have tried to introduce the military services at school but I trust that in our country, we could have introduced a leadership course as from Grade 9 (Form 3) for both boys and girls in our secondary institution. These courses could take place during the school holidays, that is during July-August and November-December in order to help these students become responsible citizens. Moreover, unfortunately we see that parents and especially young parents are victims of many societal ills. They should become conscious of this, get help and training in order to better understand their roles as parents.”
Henry Wan also adds that students tend to remain in a comfort zone. “We need to engage the youth in social and volunteering activities as well, as this will help them to better understand their environment and their community. This will also help them become conscious about the ills and societal problems. If not, they are unaware of what is happening around them and around the world and they become like robots which react only by impulse.”