Century Old Moulvibazar Government High School
Rajat Kanti Goswami
Moulvibazar Government High School is now 116 years old. It was established in 1891. Although 1891 is the official year of its inception, there is evidence that the school existed even before that. The school actually started in 1885 as a “Middle English School” at Sayerpur Porgona of the present Moulvibazar district town. After six years, it was upgraded to a 'Higher English School'.
There was no single founder of the century old Moulvibazar Government High School. A number of enthusiastic persons started efforts to establish a “Higher English School” at Moulvibazar town and people of the locality joined them. Harakinker Das, Advocate, who was a local leader of the Indian National Congress of Gandhiji and also the first Vice-Chairman of Moulvibazar Municipality, took the first initiatives along with one of his friends Prasanna Kumar Gupta to establish the school at Moulvibazar town.
The famous 'Gupta Family' of Dolia village under the then Moulvibazar Sub-division donated land for the school. At that time they also collected cash donations from the people amounting to Taka 13 thousand which was enough to set up the school.
Harakinker Das was elected as Secretary of the Managing Committee of the newly Established School and he continued in that capacity till 1914. Eminent personalities served the school as teachers. Dijendra Nath Niogee was the first Headmaster of the School. The first graduate of the then Sylhet district Sharat Chandra Chaudhury was the second Headmaster. He joined the school in 1899. But Chaudhury's service was terminated after a short while for his writings against the then British government. Devi-Juddha, a book he wrote was banned by the then government of Assam. Sharater Gaan (songs composed by Sharat) is still quite popular in the rural areas of Bangladesh and West-Bengal of India. He was one of the three 'chandra' bards in Bengal (the other two Chandras were Hema Chandra and Nabin Chandra).
After the nationalization of the school the Assam government acquired more land for its hostel, teachers' accommodation and playgrounds. The school suffered from calamitous problems at least three times. In 1930, then the Director of Public Instruction (DPI) of Assam, Cunningham tried to pass a measure to stop students from participating in any anti-British movements. People of Sylhet protested. At one stage students and others burnt down the school along with a number of other schools.
41 years after that incident, after the Liberation War, the school was damaged by a mine explosion. The main building of the school was damaged entirely, and 17 Freedom Fighters were killed in that tragic incident.
In 1984, during the devastating floods of the river Monu, the school buildings were submerged and valuable documents were damaged. This flood also claimed the life of Arju Miah, Physical Instructor of the school.
Now Preeti Bikash Pal Chaudhury and Bijay Kumar Das are working as Headmaster and Assistant-Headmaster respectively. The number of teachers in the school is 25 including three women. Among the existing teachers, there are eleven Master's degree holders and nine graduates.
There are a total of 1159 students in the school now. There is no accommodation problem in the school. An ex-student, former Finance and Planning Minister M Saifur Rahman had solved the infrastructural problems of the school by constructing several buildings. The school is male students only. It has a library, an auditorium with modern facilities, a dormitory, a mosque and five laboratories. Total land including the play ground is 11.57 acres. There are two three-storied, four single storied and four tin-shed buildings in the compound.
The academic performance of the school is somewhat satisfactory. In 2006, 100 students out of total 118 were successful in the SSC examination. 10 of them had obtained a GPA-5 and 25 obtained GPA 4 or above. A total of 14 students had gotten Junior Scholarship including four in talent-pools in 1996.
Guardians of students are now blaming the teachers for not giving proper lessons. The teachers prefer to engage in private tutoring. There is also the allegation of unfair practices when it comes to student admissions. One senior teacher of the school in particular is accused a lot. The Headmaster denies any of the accusations. He added that all the teachers of the school are sincere.
(R) thedailystar.net 2007