Born in the year of Napolen’s Waterloo, Don Bosco lived through a historically significant transition period in European history marked by the Industrial Revolution and its aftermath. Don Bosco not only arose as an answer to the problems that beset the youth of his time, but also offered to the world a new educational philosophy. He dedicated his life whole-heatedly to the education and uplift of the young, whom he described as “that part of human society, most exposed to danger and yet so rich promise”. He wanted them to be prepared for life and to become good citizens. Don Bosco is today remembered the world over for his contribution to the education of youth. He has been rightly described as the “genius who gave hope to the young”.
Don Bosco bequeathed his rich heritage to the Salesian Society which consists of Priests, Brothers, Sisters, Co-operators and Collaborators, to continue his educational System. Together with them millions of Don Bosco Past Pupils all over the world honor Don Bosco and follow his teachings.
Don Bosco’s educational activities bagan in 1841, when he met a troubled teenager called Bartholomew Garelli from the tough Valdocco suburbs of Turin. The meeting was brief. A few friendly words of encouragement and a short prayer endued and the following Sunday, Garelli was back with six others. It was the beginning of the world of reaching out to the youth of all classes, faiths, colours and abilities. Since then, Don Bosco’s educational institutions have been expanding at an incredible pace. Today there are over four thousand such institutions in some 132 Countries of the world . In India, where the Salesians of Bon Bosco began their educational activities in the wake of this century, there are over 350 Don Bosco Institutions catering to the educational needs of the country.
Born in 1815 in a poor peasant family in a village in ltaly called Becchi, John Bosco suffered the death of his father when he was two years old. John who would later become the father and friend of thousand of youth, became himself fatherless too early in life. But with indomitable courage, God’s help and under the loving protection of his mother Mamma Margaret, John grew brawling the vicissitudes of life. As Margaret could not provide for the education of her children, John had to work part time as a farm hand, a waiter, a tailor, a shoe maker, a blacksmith and a host of other things to earn enough money to complete his schooling. In the process he had learnt some eighteen professional skills that would help him later on, to educate the boys under his care to earn their living.
Hardship did not deter him from his insatiable thirst for knowledge. Brought up in a Catholic family, he made up his mind to become a priest and dedicate his life for the service of others particularly for the education and uplift of poor youth.As a priest, he roamed the crowded streets and slums of Turin, ltaly’s industrial town, and sought out the boys who wanted help. He opended boarding schools and day schools and began providing technical education to the young. His hostels, technical schools and other institutions, called ‘Oratories’ became centres for the youth.
These were supervised and looked after personally by Don Bosco and a team of dedicated helpers who, inspired by his example and ideals, joined him. To perpetuate the good work he had began, Don Bosco founded the Salesian Society, consisting of men and women who dedicated their lives to the noble task of educating the young. At the time of his death in 1888, his institutions numbered well over 100 in 20 countries of the world. Today, a century after his death, there are over 15762 men and 14655 women in the two separate branches of the Salesian society engaged in the education of boys and girls. Don Bosco also founded during his life time the Union of Salesian Past Pupils and Co-operators, who, inspired by his ideals, support the educational projects of the Salesian Society.
One may wonder at the prodigious growth of Don Bosco’s Institutions all over the world. The reason behind it lies in the new style of education that Don Bosco practiced in his institutions. In sharp contrast to the Repressive System of education prevalent ant the time, Don Bosco evolved a system of education as based on religion, reason and loving kindness. In the Repressive System, the personality of the child is repressive. Don Bosco, instead, let the personality of the child blossom in harmony with the designs of God and nature. The role of the educator was actively to assist in this blossoming by his friendly and encouraging away from all destructive influences.
Love and kindness became important corner stones of Don Bosco’s educational system. He used to tell his educators.: “You must not only love young pupils, but let them know that you love them.” Hence, he wanted all remarks and corrections to be done with kindness devoid of anger or ill-feeling, “Educators are to be like loving Fathers with whom the pupils can have heart talk at all times”. Don Bosco wanted in his institutions a family style of relationship between pupils and educators. Like the two luminaries of our nation, Rabindranath Tagore and Mahatam Gandhi, Don Bosco in his days saw the child as a spiritual being on the way to self-realization. He believed that God should be the guiding light of the child’s life. Therefore, he considered love, devotion to God, moral and religious training as vital to the growth of the Child. Don Bosco was educator, youth leader, author, publisher, counselor, seer, wonder worker, but above all,he was a man of God, a Saint. It was his holiness of life commitment for God that made him the father and friend of numerous poor and abandoned youth.
He was described as “Union with God”, Don Bosco, over a century ago, showed in practice how and educational system based on religion, reason and loving kindness works to form fully integrated and mature person who can be a good and upright citizens.
The Salesians of Don Bosco continue to follow his edcucational precepts in the numerous Don Bosco institutions all over the world. In a country life ours characterized by religious pluralism, poverty and illiteracy, Don Bosco’s educational values have great relevance.
The Don Bosco institutions, ever sicne their inception in our country, have tried to promote national integration and respect for the great spiritual and cultural values of our country while striving for excellence in every sphere of educational actively. Don Bosco School, Tura, too has nurtured thousands of youth over these sixty years. May the example and guidance of Don Bosco inspire and bless everyone involved in the task of educating the young.
DON BOSCO’S TIPS TO SCHOOL CHILDREN.
Do not waste time.
Do not overeat before studying.
Avoid bad companions as poisonous snakes.
Choose studious boy/girl as a friend and do not day dream.
Keep your mind on your books when studying and study daily lessons.
Above all, Pray