The civil society of hill town Mirik has appealed for the introduction of science and commerce streams in Mirik College which was established 22 years ago.
Mirik Civil Society, an apolitical forum, said that currently there were 14 higher secondary schools across the subdivisions.
Gyalbo Lama, the chairperson of the society, said: “However, the students there have no other option but to take courses in the arts stream. Many students come from tea gardens and villages and they do not have the financial ability to travel outside Mirik for further studies.”
The only college in the subdivision is located at Kawlay under ward 6 of Mirik municipality. Around 700 students are enrolled in the college that offers arts stream with English, history, geography, Nepali and political science as subjects.
Mirik is around 40 kilometres away from Darjeeling and around 46 kilometres away from Siliguri, the two major nearby towns.
"With the option of just one stream in Mirik College, many young students have also discontinued studies,” said Lama, adding that youngsters interested in science and commerce had no nearby option of higher studies.
Nima Lama, the teacher-in-charge of the college, also added: “I have been in contact with the authorities at NBU (North Bengal University) for the introduction of new streams in the college.”
College authorities also underscored the need to expand the institution's infrastructure while introducing new streams.
The present structure of the college building is spread over 3 acres and many feel that the infrastructure has to be expanded, too.
Poonam Biswa, the chairperson of the governing body of the institution, said the acres of the college premises jointly belonged to the state tourism and forest departments. Necessary no-objection certificates are required from both the state departments before the expansion of the building, Biswa said.
"We have got an NOC from the state tourism department," she said. "A joint survey was also conducted by the land and state forest department recently. Once we get clearance from the forest department, it will be easier to carry out extension work of the building, which is necessary for opening new departments in the college."
"We have also kept in contact with the state education department through Anit Thapa, the chief executive of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration,” Biswa added.