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Dhaka’s first pvt school in decay

Published : 23 Feb 2024 10:32 PM

Pogose School, one of the symbols of Armenian legacy in Bangladesh, is still a witness to Armenian culture, history and legacy. 

During the 176 years of its establishment, it has faced many ups and downs and locations, and now it is attached with Jagannath University (JnU) near Sadarghat, named Pogose Laboratory School and College. 

The first private school of the country was established by Armenian merchant Nicholas Pogose. The school was managed as a proprietary institution and in 1871, about a year after the death of Pogose, it was taken over by Mohini Mohan Das, a banker and zamindar. After the death of Das in 1896 his estate kept the school open.

Readers might be amazed to know the names of the students who become famous, successful and leaders in their own working arena.  

Among them are Chief Ministers Profullah Chandra Ghosh (of West Bengal) and Ataur Rahman Khan (of East Bengal), the first Bengali Doctorate Nishikanto Chatterjee, the first Bengali principal of

 Dhaka College Dr. P K Ray, the first Indian Privy Councilor and the first ICS officer from East Bengal Sir K G Gupta, and first Quran interpreter in Bengali Girish Chandra Sen. Poet Shamsur Rahman, Kaykobad, editor Kaliprasanna Ghosh, writer and Marxist activist Somen Chanda and comedian Bhanu Banerjee were students of this school. 

Notable Actors like Prabir Mitra and ATM Shamsuzzaman also studied here.

Although having a great history in the past, the value of this school is degrading day by day and now anyone can say easily after realizing the conditions that there is no student- friendly environment for study in the school. 

As soon as one enters the school area, he can see the two-storied South Building. There are cracks in most of the walls of the building.  The poor condition of the roof cannot avert a visitor’s eyes as well as the rods which have come out like skeletons. Doors and windows of most of the rooms are in poor condition. Many windows are open or hanging. 

The condition of the administrative building of the school is also pathetic. As a result, school students have to attend classes risking their lives. The condition next to the south building (south west) is also bad. However, the headmaster claims that the construction of the new school building will start very soon, and this problem will be solved.

A number of allegations have come from the students.  They are facing a lack of pure drinking water facility which hits them hard in summer time. Having no female common room and modern library makes the situation worse for the students. 

With insufficient books in the school library, some selected books are trying to hold on to value. The limited seats are not satisfying the students.  In addition to that, the female students and teachers expressed dissatisfaction about their washroom facility. 

Currently, 58 teachers are running the school while only seven teachers are under MPO. The other teachers are still temporary. Having 25 years of experience, some are still temporary, which makes them very much frustrated. 

Some teachers expressed their frustration as they have been given hope to be made permanent since long but no implementation has been seen. 

They have a fear that though they have been teaching here for years, at retirement they might leave the school with empty hands. 

“The salary we get from the school is not sufficient to maintain our family. We face hardship to meet our necessities. We want our job permanent”, said a teacher seeking anonymity. 

 Md. Abdus Sattar, the headteacher of the school, said, “Demolishing of the South building is in process and we have a plan to build a new school building there. Problems like a common room for female students, a well developed library, washroom and modern classroom will be solved then.”

“In addition to that, a list has been submitted for permanent jobs for the teachers. We are trying to solve this teacher-related issue. We are keeping in touch with Jagannath University and UGC.”