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     Volume 2 Issue 12 | June 23, 2007 |


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Guru Griho

From Sylhet
Sylhet Government Pilot High School: 171 Years

Iqbal Siddiquee

It was during the rule of the East India Company. Lord William Bentinck was the Governor General of India. With the goal of spreading the learning of the English language, in 1836 the Sylhet Government Pilot High School was established.171 years later the school is still operating.

But the school managed to run somehow with very few students in 1850. Official records show that there were 74 students in 1841. Later, when Reverend Prize took over, he converted it into a missionary school and took over as Headmaster. Reverend Prize then handed over the mission to Reverend Jones. Prize had given a lot to the school in his tenure. In 1897, the Prize Memorial Library was established with funds that had been raised. After many years, the library was merged with the Kendrio Muslim Sahitya Sangsad Library. In the meantime, for the lack of proper guidance, the school started getting into trouble.

Raisahib Nabokishore Sen, the then Deputy Inspector of Schools took the initiative to get the school up and running again. It was renamed Sylhet Government High School in 1869. Rai Sahib Durgakumar Basu was appointed Headmaster. The 12th June earthquake of 1897 completely destroyed the school building. Many came out with helping hands. Classes were later resumed at a different location. This is the current location of Sylhet Pilot Girls High School.

Rai Sahib Durga Kumar Basu went on retirement from his government job in 1903. Later, Baikunthanath Bhattacharya took over as Headmaster. The school buildings were almost totally damaged by another earthquake in 1918. Somehow, it got back on its feet again in 1919 after doing some reconstructions. But once again the institution suffered a big blow in 1926. A massive fire burned everything except the administration building down. This was not the last of the fires. There was another big fire in 1929. The school seemed doomed to be perpetually plagued by fires and earthquakes.

Khan Sahib Mofizur Rahman took over as the Headmaster in 1934. The political climate changed after World War II in 1939. The school building was being used by the military as a camp. Months later, when the military backed out, the school resumed its operations.

Khan Sahib got transferred to Shilchar Normal School in 1945. On his retirement, Srish Chandra Gupta took over followed by Abdul Gafur Chowdhury in 1947, who retired in 1951. Then, Syed Hafizur Rahman became the Headmaster. After he was transferred to Comilla Zila School next year, Badruddoza Chowdhury took over. Md. Idris, who took over in 1954 and took some bold steps to get back some valuable land from the illegal occupants. He also brought discipline and proper administration to the school.

Idris handed over the responsibilities to Assistant Headmaster Shah Syed Monirul Haque in 1962. 3 months later, Abdul Wahid Chowdhury took over and made some big changes. He improved the science laboratory as well as raised the number of teachers. He was adjudged the best Headmaster in the Chittagong division in 1967 before going to retirement in 1968. For his service to society, Chowdhury was also awarded the “Tamgha-E- Khedmat” by the government the same year. The same year assistant Headmaster of the school Riasat Ali was also adjudged best teacher in the Chittagong division.

In 1967 Syed Amirul Islam took over. In 1971, the Pak Army set buildings ablaze, destroyed valuable documents, rare books and other materials. Syed Amirul went on retirement after his eventful tenure in 1972. In its 171 years, Sylhet Government Pilot High School has certainly a turbulent journey.



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