BARPETA Feb 4 � When most of the people of the State did not know the importance of education and they were deep in the darkness of ignorance during the forties of the 20th century, conscious and elite section in Sarukshetri mouza in Barpeta district thought in a different way. Their thought resulted in to the establishment of Sarukshetri High School at Baniyakuchi in 1936, which has completed 76 years of its glorious existence this year.
Baniyakuchi, at that time was almost a neglected area. There was no road so to say and the area was flooded all the year round. Boats were the only means of transportation. Educated people could be counted on one�s finger. But the people were very much eager for knowledge. And some adventurous persons, under the leadership of Late Bapuram Das who donated a few acres of land in the prime locality for the school dreamt of a bright future for the generations to come. Their dream came to reality when Sarukshetri High School was established during the turmoil of the Independence Movement of India.
It was the only school in the area for many years for the rural people of erstwhile Barpeta subdivision of Kamrup and now eastern part of Barpeta district. Students from far flung areas of not only Sarukshetri but also neighbouring mouzas of the Barpeta and Nalbari subdivisions used to study here. Baniyakuchi and its adjacent villages like Haladhibari, Lachima, Bengapara and Kamarpara turned into an educational hub through this high school. Its alumni were able to shine in many professions through their intellect and ability.
But it is a matter of regret that with the passage of time this school like any other government-run high schools in the State, also lost its shine. Lack of proper management, indifference of guardians and local people, absence of a permanent head for a long time and want of adequate supervision of the concerned authority have added to the decay of educational environment of the school.
The old high school has been run without a permanent head for over 20 years. It is learnt that the then headmaster of this school, late Abhay Chandra Nath opted for voluntary retirement to contest the Assembly election in 1991. Since then the government has not appointed any permanent head master here. The senior most teacher of this school has been officiating as the head master in charge.
Till a few years back there were more than 7,000 students in this school. But several high schools, including venture schools and private schools, have been established in this locality now. The quality of teaching in Sarukshetri High School has also degraded and as a result the number of students have decreased to a considerable extent. People now no longer feel any inclination to admit their wards in this school due to the poor quality of education. Only those who cannot afford admission in private schools or cannot facilitate transportation to a distant place opt to admit their children in this school.
As most of the guardians are either uneducated or poor and busy with their livelihood they cannot keep vigil on the happenings in the school. Even the guardian�s meeting which is a rare event now are scantily attended. Taking full advantage of the ignorance and indifference of the guardians, barring only a few, most of the teachers shirk their duties at the slightest pretext.
Administration under the present head master in charge has degraded to such an extent that it has not been able to provide the students mark-sheets of the last annual examination, even after more than one month from the declaration of the results. Regular classes is a distant dream for the students and the guardians.
Though the school has completed 75 years of its glorious existence last year, it failed to celebrate the platinum jubilee. The few meetings held for this purpose failed to arrive at a consensus regarding the formation a celebration committee.
Supervision by the government authorities are very poor not only in respect of Sarukshetri High School but for all the high schools as a whole. The Inspector of Schools or any of his representative do not visit this high school for academic activities. Government representative comes to the school only when some financial grants are paid. It is not learnt whether they come to evaluate the proper usage of the fund, as a few grants received by this school during the last few years has not been used in a proper manner. Local people here squarely blame the Inspector of Schools for his failure to maintain the academic environment in such an old school.