Amena Baki Residential Model School A Freedom Fighter's Legacy
Imagine a school, where love abounds, where there is warmth and caring discipline, where people speak freely without fear, make mistakes and learn from them. Imagine a school where children's voices are heard, where they are encouraged to think for themselves, to ask questions, to learn not just from books but from the world around them. A school where children from underprivileged backgrounds, as well as some from more privileged backgrounds, all come together to learn. A place where a small seedling can grow into a big beautiful tree…
This is Amena Baki Residential Model School.
School founder Prof Dr M Amjad Hossain among the students
Pssionate about reforming school education in backward rural areas, Dr. M Amjad Hossain, a valiant freedom fighter and a respected orthopaedic surgeon, set up Amena Baki Residential Model School on five acres of land in a serene atmosphere at his native village in Chirir Bandar, Dinajpur, in January 2001. He named the school after the name of his parents. His mother Alhaj Amena Khatun laid its foundation stone and former chief justice of Bangladesh Supreme Court ATM Afzal formally opened it. His uncle Md. Nurul Islam Mondol, also a freedom fighter and younger brother Mozammel Hossain Mukul extended their helping hands. Ultimately, all family members contributed, according to their ability.
The school aims to develop children through a joyful and loving environment that nurtures physical, emotional, social, and spiritual development. Academic excellence is of course the priority, along with community outreach. The founder, while setting up the school, envisioned an enriched curriculum that develops each child's understanding, creativity, critical thinking and life-long love of learning. He was always motivated to nurture the unique potential of each child. The school is being run by Amena-Baki Foundation, established by Amjad after his father and mother. The school earned a reputation for itself in the very first year of its establishment when seven students got scholarship of Bangladesh Kindergarten Association. From then on, the success stories followed. In 2002, eight students obtained scholarship of Bangladesh Kindergarten Association while 19 received North Bengal Kindergarten scholarships and one received a Class V scholarship. In the years that followed, dozens of students received various scholarships each year, which is a testament to the success of the school. In 2009, 59 examinees took part in Primary 'Samapony' examination. Fifty-eight of them came out successful. Seven got talent pool scholarship and one in ordinary grade. Thirty-nine examinees sat for junior scholarship examination. Ten got talent pool scholarship and 16 in ordinary grade. Thirty-seven students participated in SSC examination. All of them came out successfully. Of them, 24 got GPA-5 and the rest 13 above 4.44.
Students of Amena Baki Residential Model School
Last year in 2010, 59 examinees took part in 'Samaponi' examination. All of them came out successfully. Twelve got talent pool scholarship and four in ordinary grade. A total of 105 students participated in JSC examination. Of them, 40 got GPA-5 and 65 above GPA-4.57. Fourty-six examinees took part in SSC examination. All of them came out successfully. Of them, 39 got GPA-5 and seven above 4.50. The school found itself at the 3rd place in Dinajpur Education Board Merit List for both JSC and SSC exams. This year, 52 students sat for SSC examination. All of them came out successfully. Of them, 44 got GPA-5 and rest eight in A Grade (3rd place in Dinajpur Education Board merit list). “Students performed well because teachers here constantly monitor students' work. They also provide individual attention to all of them and also maintain a record of their continuous progress," said Amjad, adding, "The children are hard working. Many of them come from very poor backgrounds and shine today just because they can. All they need is an opportunity. The school places special emphasis on the needs of poor students".
Surrounded by flower and fruit gardens, the school provides improved health care facilities to students. Milk and fish are supplied to them from the school farms. Now the school has many facilities that were not heard of in rural Bangladesh many years ago. Computer education is compulsory here. 'Technology will play a major role in transforming Rural Bangladesh into digital Bangladesh,' said Prof Amjad, who is the Chief Consultant of Labaid Specialised Hospital in the capital and the former head of the Department of Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgery, Dhaka Medical College and Hospital (DMCH). He is also a health advisor to the Bangladesh Freedom Fighters' Welfare Trust. He believes that technology will play a vital role in transforming rural Bangladesh.
The school has also a mini children's park and stresses cross-disciplinary approaches to complex problems. Besides excellent academic result, students undertake environmental study tours and join tree plantation and awareness-creating campaigns led by teachers. Sports and cultural activities are a routine affair. International Mother Language Day, Independence Day, Victory Day and other national days are observed in a befitting manner. With only 134 students when the school first started, it is quite a feat that now there are several hundred of students, both girls and boys, about 400 of whom are residential. Other than academic buildings, laboratories, a library and an auditorium, the school also has a large playground on the campus. Apart from academics, the school encourages students to take part in a range of diverse activities such as music, theatre, dance, nature club, environmental protection, publishing in-house magazines, organising debates and lectures and participating in inter and intra school competitions. Such activities improve creativity, enhance confidence levels, inculcate discipline and enhance leadership qualities and abilities.
Chirir Bandar's success story has attracted the attention of all in the community. With state support, the school can grow even larger and extends the light of knowledge to thousands more. The Amena Baki Residential Model School is truly a 'model' that other schools should follow.
(R) thedailystar.net 2011