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Iconic Netarhat to board national ‘brandwagon’

- Jharkhand Academic Council likely to lose most prestigious institution to CBSE from next year
Netarhat Vidyalaya in Latehar

Ranchi, July 24: Sixty years after its birth, the only government-run school that went on to assume iconic status by being the alma mater of a galaxy of civil servants, doctors, engineers and academics in undivided Bihar and now Jharkhand, Netarhat Vidyalaya in Latehar is likely to bid adieu to the state board from 2015.

Deciding to leave Jharkhand Academic Council (JAC), in whose matric exams even this year the school bagged three slots in the top five, Netarhat Vidyalaya sent a proposal to New Delhi-based Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) this June seeking affiliation for “greater exposure” and “national and global branding”.

Talking to The Telegraph over phone on Thursday, school principal Bimalanshu Shekhar Mallik said they were hopeful of getting CBSE affiliation from next year.

“Our aim is to go the CBSE way from 2015. In CBSE, one has to send proposals latest by June 30 in any year. We sent the Delhi board our file last month after getting consent from the HRD department headed by minister Geetashree Oraon,” he added.

The residential school, which habitually churns toppers in matriculation every year, got a permanent principal after a gap of 25 years last October.

But, Mallik didn’t dwell on it. Instead, he said: “We are a government-funded school but we have had full autonomy in functioning. We are now moving in the right direction (CBSE affiliation) for greater exposure as it will help us grow better.”

But does this move signal a perception that state board students don’t have a future?

Mallik said he was “not demeaning any board”, but indicated there was a problem of perception. “There is a feeling that in our state board, competition level is low compared to national boards. Despite being a government school we managed to do well. But we don’t want to get complacent. We want to move forward.”

Asked why CBSE, he said: “Exam patterns will prepare and assess students for greater competitions. The CBSE has six exams, four formative assessments and two subjective assessments in Classes IX and X. There is a separate problem solving assessment which cements the overall skills of students.”

On parameters for CBSE affiliation, he listed the requirements, including at least a two-acre campus, well-furnished libraries and laboratories, qualified teachers and fire safety provisions.

How does Netarhat Vidyalaya measure up? “Our residential school is spread over 147 acres,” smiled the principal.

“Our libraries and laboratories are 60 years old but up-to-date. We meet all parameters and we also have a proven track record in our favour. So, affiliation shouldn’t be a problem,” he said.

The principal added they had mega remodelling plans. “The government gave us Rs 25 crore as administrative sanction to overhaul the school in terms of architecture. In a day or two, remodelling of classrooms, kitchens and hostels will begin. I also had a word with state IT department for converting the entire campus into a Wi-Fi zone. We want to equip all teachers with laptops and students with tabs from next year,” he said.