Glorious 180th anniversary of Rajshahi Collegiate School
Abu Kalam Ratan and Mamun Abdul Kaioum
Rajshahi Collegiate School has become a part of history as well as heritage of the country. No other school except three in the country reached the 180-year milestone. Particularly in the northern region of Bangladesh this institution is the pioneer in the education sector.
It was established as an English medium school called “Beauleah School”. So it is also a pioneer as the first English medium educational institution in this region.The school celebrated it's 180th anniversary on January 23 and 28 .
After 1757, the British colonial rule started in Bengal and the British rulers started to establish educational centers to recruit low class officers from East Bengal.
Though a lot of institutions were established in Kolkata and the western part of Bengal, Rajshahi Collegiate School was the first school in East Bengal. The College was followed by Dhaka Collegiate School, Jessore Zila School, Chittagong Collegiate School and Rangpur Zila School .
The growth of English education is closely related with the development of Boalia, as a town in Rajshahi city. The coming of European traders in Rajshahi increased in the middle of 18th century as the attention on silk trade increased day by day. The rajas and zaminders of Puthia, Dubalhati, Dighatpotia, Bolihar and others often came to Rajshahi city along with lawyers, businessmen and European officers. To educate the family members of these elite professionals, they built a school named “Beauleah School” in 1828.
In 1835, the school received the william Adam's recommendation to promote one English medium school in every district of East Bengal. On account of that policy government took up the school and appointed Sharada Prasad Basu as headmaster. The school had a local committee to oversee curriculum and other affairs. The committee also appointed a vernacular teacher with their own money. In 1836, while government took over the responsibilities, there were 90 Hindu students, 2 Muslims and one Christian student. There were three teachers who got 80 rupees while an assistant teacher got 20 rupees as their salary per month. The school was also under the local supervision and control of the principal of Rajshahi College as it was an attached institution of the college. The school is now located in the center of Rajshahi city, is in front of Mony Chatter .
The structure of the first building was so spectacular that the former students of the institution demanded a rebuilding of the building at the 150th celebration as well as 180th anniversary of the institution. The two shifts were introduced in 1991.
Among the many successful former students of this institution, Air Vice Marshal (retd.) AK Khandker, sector commander during the Liberation War, Khademul Bashar Bir Uttom, Brigadier (retd) A. Momeen, Major general M.M. Samad, former chairman of Rajdhani development Anwar Hossain, Dr. Abdur Razzaq Khan, Late Dr. Abdul Gaffar, Dr. A.K. Mahbubul Alam, Major General(retd) Zamil D Ahsan, Nur Hamim Rezvi, Prof. Moniruzzaman, M.A. Rashid, Dr. Ziauddin, Prof. Abul Kalam Monzur Murshed, Abdul Matin Khan, Dr. Habibur Rahman, Abdul Mannan Razi, former Justice Fazlul Haque are only a few of them. Historian Akshay Kumar Maitreya, archeologist Ramaprasad Chanda, educationist Khan Bahadur Ahsanullah, archeologist Sarat Kumar Ray, Nawab Bahadur Syed Ali Chowdhury, Singer James Faruk Mahfuz Anam are some of the alumni of the institution.
The school runs two shifts named 'Provati' and 'Deeba' with different student bodies and faculties. The school has a rich library with 5000 books with some unique collection. It has a hostel with accommodation facility for over 50 students. The examination results of SSC (Secondary school Certificate) and achievements of students at primary and junior level are highly encouraging. The school also has remarkable track record in sports and games. Today the school is run by 55 experienced teachers including two assistant headmasters. There are 1673 including 110 college students in this school who are studying in three groups, nanmely Science, Arts and Commerce.
A total of 104 students achieved GPA 5 in SSC 2008 examination with 51 Golden GPA-5. The school stood 8th under Rajshahi education board as the average highest passing institution. The total passing percentage in 2008 is about 94 percent while there was 100 percentage pass from Arts group in 2006, 2007 and 2008.
The present headmaster Mrs Nurjahan Begum is the 45th headmaster of the academy. The school also has a reputation for doing well in debate competitions at local and national levels. Last year, the school arranged a debate competition where different schools of Rajshahi division took part and the school stood first. The school also regularly takes part in local and national level programmes and cultural functions.
Rajshahi Collegiate School organised a two-day programme on the occasion of their 180th founding anniversary. It was inaugurated on January 23 on the school premise with much enthusiasm. Minister and former student of the institution Air Vice Marshal (Retd) AK Khondoker was present as the chief guest while Brigadier General (Rtd) AHM Abdul Momen was present as special guest. In his speech the chief guest said that the celebration was a 'historical reunion'. He remembered his best memories while he was a student of the institution. He encouraged the present students to follow former students. The chief guest also urged the school authorities to continue their productive activities in future. The inauguration programme was presided over by the convener of the anniversary celebration programme and former principal of Rajshahi Medical College Prof. Dr. SAA Bari.
Prof. Dr. SAA Bari congratulated and thanked the young students of the school who worked for one year voluntarily to ensure the success of the celebration programme. He presented freedom fighters and brilliant students with crests at the start of the programme. About 2000 registered former students along with Rajshahi City Corporation Mayor AHM Khairuzzaman Liton, former mayor Mizanur Rahman Minu, M. Mahtab Ali and Brigadier Gen (Retd) M. Lutful Haq joined the programme.
In the second session of the first day the past students of this institution recollected their memories. Engineer M. Aminul Haque was the special guest while the programme was presided over by Sayed M. Mohsin Ali.
The second day of the programme started with the reception of retired teachers, former students and meritorious students. The programme was presided over by Advocate Mozibur Rahman Talukder.
In the last session of the celebration, some delightful programmes like raffle draw, recollecting memories, reception of former students, reunion of officials and colorful cultural events like songs, folk numbers and photo exhibition were held. The session was presided over by M. Abdul Mazid while Rajshahi City Corporation Mayor Khairuzzaman Liton was present there as chief guest. AKM Toufikur Rahman was the special guest at the programme.