At the outset, my father funded the school with his own money and with donations from well-wishers. He later fought hard to receive some support from the State government. During my father’s time the school excelled in sports, winning the “Subrata Mukherjee Cup” in the all India football competition for boys. Academically, however, the school was not among the top performers, and this bothered my father. I long wished to help my father completely fulfill his vision for the school, so several years back I introduced a scholarship fund in his name to fulfill his dream and to help build the school’s academic reputation.
Utpal Ghosh at the Nabin Baran Utsab Ceremony, February 2018.
Just two weeks ago, during a recent trip to India, I attended the “Nabin Baran Utsab” Ceremony at the school, and had the privilege to personally present scholarship awards from the scholarship fund to a batch of young students admitted to Class V in 2017. The scholarship fund that we have established supports an average of 10 annual awards to those top students in Class V who have demonstrated the most potential in a variety of subject areas, as measured by a special merit evaluation, and supports mentoring and tutoring of the selected students through the rest of their secondary school careers. Tutoring and other educational resources are typically available to students of higher-income families and to those attending more prominent schools in Kolkata, but still largely unavailable to students in Agarpara. The students who study in the school are generally from financially and socially underprivileged regions in the neighbouring community. My goal, and the school’s goal, is to ensure that the scholarship award recipients score well in the West Bengal State school examinations, which not only sets these students up for admission to good universities and colleges, but also builds the school’s reputation in the State.
Presenting scholarship awards to top students.
As the Ceremony drew to an end, I toured the school with the staff and asked, "What more can I/we do?". I was expecting to hear a plea for more funds, but rather, I heard an appreciation and gratitude for already what was being enabled by the scholarship funds. As I prodded further, I learnt that the kids often do not have means to buy textbooks. The school has a small library and a librarian but the facilities are highly inadequate. The Headmaster told me about his plan to expand the library facilities, increase seating capacity for students to sit and read during “off periods”, and stock more textbooks and reference books in all subjects so that financially disadvantageous students can benefit by borrowing books from the library. These efforts need funds which the school does not currently have; nor does the government provide any budget for it.
I am organizing this campaign to raise Rs 3 lakh, or approximately CAD $6000, to build a new, well-stocked library and associated facilities. To ensure accountability and to help achieve maximal impact, we will raise and disburse funds in milestone-based Phases, with the first Phase goal being Rs 1 lakh or CAD $2000. Your funds and support of a new library will undoubtedly be a huge boost to the school's students. You will be helping continue my father's legacy, and you will become a part of the lives of hundreds to thousands of students in the years to come. Thank you for your support.
The students of Netaji Shikshayatan Higher Secondary School on school grounds.
- Akhil Mathur
- Kyle Anderson
- Chand Garg
- Eufemiano (Emano) Moniz
Organizer and beneficiary
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