Muraliganj Higher Secondary School, located at Muraliganj village in Phansidewa block in Darjeeling district, is likely to become a role model for SAARC and a few other western countries. Members of a team under international learning exchange programme have promised to recommend the school to their respective governments.
A string of awards
Recently crowned with the Jamini Roy Award by the state education department, the school has already bagged the best government-sponsored school award in the district. The school has already been featured in a documentary made by UNICEF.
The school was among the three high schools to get the Jamini Roy Award, the two others being Burdwan Municipality Girls High School and Kamarpur High School Hooghly. West Bengal has 15,000 government-sponsored high schools.
Earlier this month, the school was visited by a nine member team under the international learning programme headed by Md Asadur Rahman, chief of UNICEF, West Bengal. The team praised the school and the management.
Established in 2001, with 65 students, the co-education school now has 1,590 students with 90% belonging to the schedule caste, schedule tribe and OBC categories. The school has 22 teachers.
Model for UNICEF
Headmaster Samsul Alam said that the recognition in terms of awards and international delegation visits was made possible by the hard work of teachers, nonteaching staff, guardians and students.
Singha said, “The school management, teachers, staff, guardians and students are all like family members and each of them has contributed in the making of the school.”
The school located in a remote rural belt in Siliguri sub-division is fitted with 32 CCTV cameras and cooks prepare midday meals with aprons, gloves, caps and masks. The school is fully computerised with the headmaster monitoring all developments sitting in his office.
UNICEF and the Union ministry of drinking water and sanitation jointly produced the documentary. The students and teachers of the school have followed the Swasthya Vidhan project in detail. We will be proud to screen the documentary in Kathmandu where delegates of all seven Saarc countries will be present. A Saarc delegation is also scheduled to visit the school on November 13 or 14. We are proud of the school and its teachers and students.
There are posters and leaflets on the need to wash hands properly and keep toilets clean. Such posters and leaflets are either distributed or stuck on notice boards at other schools, but their message is hardly followed. But Muraliganj High School is an exception.
--- Paresh Sarengi, a UNICEF official, said during his visit to the school earlier.
The school has one water tap for 30 students, which surpasses the national standard. The headmaster said, “The school has 64 water taps which comes to one tap for 25 students. All students wash their hands before the midday meal.”
The school has a fishpond that gives the school extra revenue and the institution prepares vermi-compost from the waste of midday meal. The vermi-compost is used in the school’s beautiful and well maintained kitchen garden.
Praises from UNICEF
Melf Kuihl from Germany and the adviser to UNICEF, who was a member of the visiting team, said, “What the school authorities are doing is amazing.”
Md Asadur Rahman, chief of UNICEF, West Bengal, said, “It is an excellent initiative that would definitely encourage other schools both in India and abroad.” Other members of the visiting team were from Bangladesh, Canada, India, Kirghizstan, Philippines, Nepal and Afghanistan.
He added, “The manner in which sanitation and hygiene is maintained has become a model for the entire country. The Union ministry of water and sanitation, along with UNICEF, prepared the documentary and today, we visited the school to have a first-hand experience. Whatever the school has done in this regard deserves appreciation.”
Image courtesy: The Telegraph