Iconic Kolkata school with Vidyasagar links might open doors for girls

After almost 200 years since its inception in 1824, Kolkata’s iconic Sanskrit Collegiate School, where iconic educator and social reformer Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar was a student and teacher, is now gearing up to open its doors for girl students from the next academic year.

Currently, it is an all boys school from Class 1-12. In the higher secondary section, the institution has science and arts wings.

Speaking with IANS, the headmaster of Sanskrit Collegiate School, Debabrata Mukherjee, said that he had been fighting for this development for quite some time and was finally able to insert the proposal as a note with the state education department.

“I will be meeting the top officials of the state school education department either today or tomorrow. I hope the proposal will finally see the light of day and this great institution having the association of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar both as a student as well as a teacher will have girl students on board,” he said.

Mukherjee expressed regret that it took so long for the institution to open its doors for girls especially in the backdrop of its association with Vidyasagar, who had virtually sacrificed his life to promote women education and widow remarriage in the country.

According to the headmaster, the culture of bureaucratic red-tapism that had been going on for years had been responsible for this delay.

“The contention of the state school education department was that there was no precedence of any state run boys’ school being converted into a co-educational school. However, then I made my own independent reach and found out that in the 1990s, Kalimpong Boys’ School in the hills of north Bengal selectively started accommodating girl students.

“At that point of time, it was the only state-run school in Kalimpong and the government officers getting postings there faced immense difficulties in pursuing the schools for their girl children. I quoted this precedent and finally was able to make some progress in this direction,” Mukherjee said.

At the same time, he also questioned the culture of looking for precedence in case of taking a new step.

“If there is goodwill it really does not matter whether there is any precedent or not,” Mukherjee said.

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