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Rudra Singh Higher Secondary School at Kailasahar, Tripura was established in 1872

Prashanta Kilikdar, Headmaster, Rudra Singh Higher Secondary School at Kailasahar, Tripura is a person who didn’t switch off his mobile when a Delhi mobile number was flashing intermittently for many days. He was patient, enthusiastic receiving each and every call. Test of his patience came very visible when he answered all the minute queries put forward by the interviewee. 

By RK Rishikesh Sinha, New Delhi

The Rudra Singh Higher Secondary School at Kailasahar, Tripura is not a school of this day. The history of the school dates back to 19th century, when India was still in the clutches of British Raj and the present State was nowhere in the political map. One can imagine the state of education in those days. 

But it didn’t deter people to embrace the importance of education that it brings to the society. The grand foresight that education is necessary for the overall development of an individual and it is instrumental to the upliftment of any society, was well understood by Rudra Singha. A Bishnupriya Manipuri, Rudra Singha, donated 2.37 acre of land in 1872 to the establishment of a school which is now named after him and it stands as a beacon guiding generations after generations since its inception. 

The double-storey school recently organised the women Northeast Football Tournament and Nikhil Bishnupriya Manipuri Mahasabha (NBMM) Platinum Jubilee. Those who attended the Platinum Jubilee celebration were awestruck seeing the level of maintenance that is being followed by the school. The Rudra Singh Higher Secondary School bestows a playground and a beautiful garden.

Facility of bathroom is one aspect where Indian schools lag behind, but the school again scores the point here. It has a clean, well maintained bathroom for boys and girls. The pathetic state of bathroom facility in schools in India is well known. Reports do appear in media where students read girls abstain from school only due to lack of this facility. 

Location of the school, to be precise the area in which a school comes, is one determining factor on which a status of any school is given preference and given value. And it goes to the neighbourhood-population where the school is situated. “The school is situated in an area where the Bishnupriya Manipuri community accounts for 75-80 per cent of the total populace” said Kilikdar. 

Students from Guldharpur, Bhagabannagar, Gaunagar, Icchabpur, and Deorachhara gram panchayats take admission in the school, said Samar Sinha, who teaches geography in the school.

Being in the Bishnupriya Manipuri predominant area is very visible in its student enrollment. Over 80 per cent of the students studying in the school are Bishnupriya Manipuri, said Kilikdar. The school has morning and noon shifts. 

The Rudra Singh Higher Secondary School has classes from Class I to Class XII. The first batch of Class XII (Arts stream) would be passing this academic year. Enrollment of girls in the school is something that the education fraternity of the country should take note of it. 

In Class XI, the number of boys and girls is 15 each. The ratio of boys and the girls which runs equal from Class VI to Class XII is a remarkable achievement of the school. And the credit must go to the parents of the nearby areas who understand the importance of girl’s education as they are with their boys’ education. According to Ministry of Human Resource Development report (as on 30.9.2004), the dropout rates in Class I-X is 60.41 percent in boys, and 63. 88 per cent in girls. 

However, taking into account the percentage of students passing the Class X examination from the school, if it has not touched the magic 100 per cent result, it has not been poorer either. In 2006, 72 % of the 42 students who appeared in the exam were able to get through the exam. Four students secured First Division. 

In 2007, the Class X result went to a new height. Out of 45 students who sat in the exam, 96 % of students were declared pass. In 2008, the passing result came down to 82.35 per cent. 34 students appeared in the matriculation exam. 

Like any other government school of the country, the Rudra Singh Higher Secondary School at Kailasahar, Tripura is not unscathed with problems plaguing it. In the morning shift (Class I - V) only 5 teachers are teaching the students, whereas in the noon shift (Class VI - XII) it is 17, Kilikdar said. The dismal Pupil-Teacher ratio is 33 in Pre-degree junior colleges/ Hr. Sec. Schools, as on 30.9.2004 Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India, report said. 

Prashanta Kilikdar confirmation that the school is facing scarcity of teachers in all the classes, calls for immediate attention and call for action from the stakeholders of State’s education. Else the school which has been the precursor of change for the people living in the area and for the State will loose its sheen to the English-medium schools that have popped up in the past couple years. 

It is remorseful for all of us that the walls of the century-old school have started crumbling and cracks have started appearing in it. Going by the records of students who have come out with flying colours in the matric exam securing First Division, it is minimal. In the academic year 2007 and 2008, only one student secured First Division and in 2006 it was mere 4. 

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