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Book review:

Historical details of Museaus College

N.K. Pilapitiya

Gratitude (katannuta) is one of the virtues the Buddha has taught us to practice. We are primarily to be grateful to our parents who not only brought us into the world and nurtured us but were also our 'first teachers' (pubbachariya). Then there are our teachers in various institutions of learning without whose help we would never have been what we are today.

The institutions themselves deserve our gratitude because they provided all the facilities for us to study. Some of these institutions were built up from scratch by the personal sacrifices and the indefatigable dedication shown in the face of many hardships by some individuals, and they richly deserve our admiration and gratitude.

Two such individuals whom we can never forget when it comes to the topic of women's education in Sri Lanka are Mme. Marie Musaeus Higgins, the Founder Principal and Peter de Abrew, the first and the greatest benefactor of Museaus College. There are also several other idealistic women and men, some of them foreigners, who contributed much to this institution by giving generously of their time, energy and wealth.

Museaus College today is one of the leading schools in the island and we Buddhists can be proud that we have been able to maintain and sustain the steady growth of this great institution of women's learning for well over 120 years. Although a Buddhist institution, in true accordance with the tolerant philosophy of the Buddha and in keeping with the desire of the Founder Principal to be ' a mother to all daughters of Lanka', its doors are open to students of all creeds and it gives the gift of knowledge to all who step into her portals irrespective os class, creed, caste or any other distinction.

The saga of Museaus College beginning with the wattle and daub 'mud hut' housing 12 girls in 1891 is an extremely interesting and highly instructive one. Now one of her illustrious alumni, N.K. Pilapitiya, who has made an indelible mark in the annals of education in Sri Lanka, by steering several of our leading girls' schools to great heights, and who herself presided with great success over the destinies of Museaus for 14 long years, has ventured to preserve that saga for posterity by committing it to writing.

This is a story told with sincerity and feeling and the reader will not fail to share in the deep admiration felt by the author for the pioneering spirit of all those great women and men starting with the co-founders Marie Museaus Higgins and Peter De Abrew.

- Emeritus Professor K N O Dharmadasa

 

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