Barrackpore Government High School

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Barrackpore Government High School
BGHS.jpg
Central structure of school
Address
B T Road, Talpukur
Barackpore, North 24 Parganas
West Bengal, 700123, India
Information
School type Higher secondary
Established 1837
Founder George Eden, 1st Earl of Auckland
Headmaster Mr. Debananda Bagchi
Grades 1 to 12
Gender Boys school
Medium of language Bengali
Color(s) White and Navy         
Affiliation West Bengal Board of Secondary Education/West Bengal Council of Higher Secondary Education

Barrackpore Government High School is situated on B.T. Road near Talpukur in Barrackpore, India and was established in 1837. Until recently it was believed that the school was established by Emily Eden. However research gives credit to her elder brother George Eden, 1st Earl of Auckland the then Governor-General of India. He opened and ran the school at his own expense. The school continues to run from the old heritage building which is strikingly reminiscent of an old Christian church of British architecture.

The school has been referred as Eden School, Vice-regal School, Viceroy’s Park School, Governor’s School, Barrackpore Government Park School in government archives, newspapers and journals. The school is now referred as Barrackpore Government School or Barrackpore Government High School.

The beginning[edit]

The school was set up to teach English to the impoverished children of the local Bengali neighborhoods. The school started with a handful of local boys. The Earl was so enthusiastic about the school that he used to distribute pens, books, papers for free amongst the enrolled pupils. He arranged a stipend for the advanced students who are able to teach the beginners so that economically backward families would be encouraged to send their children to the school. Caste discrimination had no place in Lord Auckland’s school where all the boys had to study together irrespective of their caste and creed which was very exceptional considering the time.

Lord Auckland hired teachers from Calcutta and across Bengal at his own expense to give education of the finest quality. Among them the name of Rashik Lal Sen is worthy to mention who was also the first head master of the school. The school started at the south east corner of the erstwhile Barrackpore Park (now famous as Latbagan). His sister Emily Eden was also enthusiastic about her brother’s school. She writes ‘George’s new school has been open this last fortnight and some of the little native boys already read a fable in one syllable. It is astonishing how quick they are when they choose to learn.’ –Letter dated 26th March 1837, Barrackpore, 'Letters from India' By Emily Eden, Vol – 1, page -338 Edited by her niece Eleanor Eden, November 1871, Published by Richard Bentely & Sons, London, 1872.

Ex-students of the school have researched the subject and it seems that the school was set up in March of 1837.

Time after Lord Auckland[edit]

The school continued to enjoy the vice-regal patronage till the end of colonial time. After the end of Lord Auckland’s tenure successive Governor Generals maintained the School. Among them Lady and Lord Canning were very enthusiastic about this school. Charlotte, Countess Canning gave favourable comments when she visited the school. After her sudden death Lord Canning gave a donation from his personal purse for the expansion of the school building probably in memory of his wife.

The school had a tradition where the high performing students of each class collected their prizes from the Governor himself in an annual ceremony organized inside the campus of Governor’s House under a large banyan tree. All the students accompanied by the student cubs and scouts used to march from the school to the Governor’s House along the road by the side of river Ganges. Usually the ceremonies were started with a short cultural programme organized by the pupils and was followed by the Governor’s short motivational speech. Even today a few old students can recollect when they received their prizes from Lord Casey, Lord Brabourne, Sir John Herbert {John Herbert (Conservative politician)} etc. The tradition continued till the end of the colonial era.

The Heritage buildings and the school campus[edit]

The oldest structure of the school is the centrally located church-like building. The main architecture of the structure is almost unchanged with the exceptions of minor changes of design on top of the pinnacles. The building is still in use as the Head Master's offices.

The building that spans the left flank of the school is also an old architecture. The right flank that spans along the BT Road is relatively new. The north-west side building is also new and is the Science building and all the laboratories of the school arem there. The building just beside that is again an old building. Probably it was used as a student hostel when it started.

The recent addition of the school is the multi-story building on the north-west corner of the campus.

Curriculum[edit]

The school has classes 1 to 12. Students appear for 10+ (Madhyamik) examination under the West Bengal Board of Secondary Education and 12+(Higher Secondary Examination) examination under the West Bengal Council of Higher Secondary Education. Class 11 and 12 have three streams- science, arts and commerce. The language of instruction is primarily Bengali. For class 11-12, there is a separate section where language of instruction is English. Today English is taught as the lingua franca and the native vernacular Bengali is primarily preferred as the language of instruction in line with the governmental policies.

Notable alumni[edit]

References[edit]