This senior secondary school is a unique palace of dreams. It is a powerful engine that helps students run on the highway of hope. I entered this garden of knowledge to pluck the flowers of success.
I am grateful to my principal, Nazir Ahmad Reshi, an upright officer with great leadership qualities, for his insightful and encouraging words of wisdom.
I was the secretary or the head boy of the school mandated to conduct the proceedings in the morning assembly. To fly high, this school repaired my broken wings.
I had a great time here. Good schools are like eagles. They do not flock together. You find them one at a time. The same applies to my wonderland. After a long lull, I unwind the knots of the noose and flip the two sides of the coin.
I vividly recall Nazir sahib, in his introductory speech, quoted Sant Kabir’s theory of love all, hate none. “You can rewrite the grammar of life provided you use this platform and rise to that pedestal.” His first impression was simple and subtle, “I promise that I will go to any extent to help curious brains nurture fertile ideas.” A highly disciplined team of teachers always made sure that we don’t bunk a class. I never did. Not even one. The school head meant business:
“Come to learn & leave to serve.” He introduced the magazine for lit lovers. He would regularly seek feedback from students. I remember interviewing DC Varmul in class 11. He immediately ordered the dewatering and leveling of the school playground. Another small feat was representing the district in KU’s Sonzal. I, along with Nusrat Ali and Bakhtawar Beigh (two students from Govt. Girls Higher Secondary Baramulla) made it to the final round. That was a cute little achievement.
What has changed ever since I graduated from this school? Quite A lot. Over fifteen hundred wards are admitted to the Institute. But, surprisingly, only fifty percent of them turn up. Why? Because they are busy in private coaching centers within and outside the vale. Why has the school management failed to address this issue? Why is no action taken against them? On the other hand, I noticed a disappointing pattern.
Students who are late by a few minutes are not allowed to enter the premises. Being strict is fine but applying different yardsticks is not. The ‘late-comers’ after being denied entry loiter around in the market. Any evil activity can attract them.
They can indulge in any anti-social action for the rest of the day. Who is to be blamed here? Gates of public authority are supposed to be open for them. The school is not supposed to shut the doors to its key stakeholders. It will have serious consequences on their career and behavioral pattern. “The peon rebukes and shoves us away. We are going to school and authorities are treating us as prisoners.” It is very unfortunate and Chief Education Officer, Varmul, must take serious note of it.
None of these students are habitual late-lateef’s as I was told. They have their sad tales to tell. The principal must sit down with them and listen to their side of the story and not deprive them of their fundamental Right to Education in a government-run Institution.
High school is for discovering yourself. Teens are expected to make silly mistakes. Students should be schooled at school; policing is expected from policemen, not teachers. It is an intense crippling shame.
Teenage is a period of stress, strain, strife, and storm if the theory of modern psychoanalysis is believed. A lot of physical and hormonal changes take place at this critical stage of life. We commit errors because we are humans.
And seeking therapy is normal. Mind you that the school has a separate cell to deal with the host of issues learners face. Asma Jan, the counselor, motivates such students and trains them on how to face the tough life ahead. “The results are satisfactory.” Asma briefed me. And for students, it is a cell phone-free campus.
The makeover of the old buildings has been done to make them look more pleasing. The structures have been named and numbered for easy identification. The premises is fully electrified and decorated. A public address system is used to make the announcements as per the timetable. But in digital India, this school doesn’t have a website. Since 1965 with Ghulam Nabi Shaiq as the first principal to the incumbent 22nd Sarparast of the historical school, the change is palpable.
To equip themselves with the latest skills, over 50 students have enrolled in vocational courses like repair of mobile phones, CCTV installation, plumbing, etc. to eke out a decent living while they learn the tricks of the trade.
That is a wonderful idea. Now, under Samagra Shiksha, a vocational Lab of Tourism has been established. Students interested in the hospitality sector learn the basics of food and beverages, housekeeping, etc.
This school is simply a package. Students are provided with gymnasium facilities. INR one million worth of filtration plant has been installed at three locations to provide purified water to learners. Forty varieties of Medicinal plants are grown in Anjum Herbal Garden.
They have 3 J&K BN National Cadet Corps (NCC) wings and separate National Service Scheme (NSS) volunteers. The school has a legal literacy club operated by the district legal services authority to teach students about the laws of the land.
It also has a separate electoral literacy club. To make the pupil-teachers accountable, the school has a robust electronic system called EPMS (Employee Performance Management System). Once the class is over, the teacher fills out the google form and it is reviewed by the Academic Management Team (AMT) every month. Come what may, my alma mater is a runway of hope, a corridor of opportunities & a window of excellence.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.
The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.