The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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More schools, more students

If the student count at the admission door adds up alarmingly, schools must multiply.

Waking up to the glaring need to create more space for more students, some of the prominent Christian missionary schools in Calcutta have embarked on the expansion route by looking beyond the Bypass.

The authorities of the Church of North India (CNI) have decided to set up at least half-a-dozen new schools on the eastern fringes of Calcutta, all of them branches of some of the most popular English-medium institutions run by the church in town.

The schools on the fast-track move to multiple campuses are — La Martiniere for Boys, La Martiniere for Girls, St Thomas’ for Boys and St Thomas’ for Girls, both at Kidderpore, Pratt Memorial and St James.

In about two years, the city will boast of six new “branded” schools, Rev P.S.P. Raju, Bishop of Calcutta diocese of the CNI, told Metro. “The groundwork has begun and the schools should be in place between one-and-a-half years’ to two years’ time,” he added.

Bishop Raju, who is also the head of the education division of the Calcutta diocese of the CNI-controlled educational institutions, went on to explain the immediate need for growth plans.

“We have been noticing that the demand among parents to educate their wards in some of our English-medium schools is constantly on the rise and the number of applications from guardians seeking admissions of their wards to these schools is also increasing every year.

“Unfortunately, since the seats are limited, we cannot accommodate all the students. After discussing the problem at different levels of officials in the schools, we have decided on the expansion of these institutions. I feel this would be the best way to do justice to the people,” felt the Bishop.

Plots located off the Bypass, near Science City and also Rajarhat, have been selected for the proposed school campuses. The schools will “start from the lower levels and then grow into high schools”.

According to sources in the CNI, these sites would be most suitable for the new schools, as a number of housing estates are coming up in these areas in the next few years. These new campuses could easily cater to that demand segment.

“Residents in the newly-developed areas along the Bypass and Rajarhat will not be the only ones to benefit. Students residing in south Calcutta will be able to commute to and from these new campuses far more easily,” said the Bishop.

The land, he clarified, would be bought at market rates and the schools’ boards of governors are already scouting for plots. “The entire process started about one-and-a-half years ago and a fair amount of progress has been made,” said Bishop Raju.

The schools have been asked to adopt various cost-cutting measures to raise the initial funds for the new buildings.

“The amount saved would be utilised for meeting the initial expenses for setting up the proposed schools,” explained the Bishop.

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