Revival blueprint for Assam's oldest school

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By Staff Reporter
  • Published 16.04.08

April 16: An ambitious development scheme by Dispur plans to infuse new life into the now-dying Cotton Collegiate Government Higher Secondary School — the oldest school in the state.

A state government official said poor infrastructure and the lack of other modern facilities has badly affected the performance of the 174-year-old school, which is now struggling to keep up its position as one of the most prestigious schools in the state.

The school, which once used to secure several positions in the merit list of the matriculation examination, has shown a gradual decline in its performance in the past few years.

“The trend has now reversed and the school’s overall performance in the High School Leaving Certificate examination in the past 10 years is a matter of serious concern. The government has given due consideration to the project and decided to take up several initiatives to improve the condition of the school,” the official said.

The government will first renovate the entire school building and create infrastructure and facilities like modern classrooms, laboratories and install computers. The official added that the government has also decided to conduct a study on the gradual decline in the school’s performance.

“The government is now emphasising on recruiting quality teachers for the school. There are allegations that most of the appointments in the recent years have been made on political considerations,” a source said.

Set up in 1834, the school is considered the corner stone of modern education in Assam. It was initially known as Gauhati School and had 58 students on its rolls.

The first chief minister and Bharat Ratna Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi, Anandaram Barua, also the first Assamese to be a member of the Indian Civil Service, was a product of the school. Zalinur Ali Ahmed and Sibram Bora, the first two Assamese to enter the Indian Medical Service and great educationist Manik Chandra Barua, were also the school’s alumni.

Sources said Dispur’s decision to develop the school was taken after several quarters criticised it for the present condition of the school. Former students have also formed an alumni association to pile up pressure on the government to develop the school.

The secretary of the alumni association, Manoj Saikia, said it was unfortunate that the government has not done anything to improve the school’s condition.

“We are trying to contact former students. Efforts will be made to raise funds for the development and improvement of the school’s infrastructure,” Saikia added.