Media: The Independent
Urirchar High School, established in 1997, has changed its name four times to get teaching permission and MPO (monthly oay order) enlistment. However, it is yet to get the clearances. The number of its students has dwindled to a little over 450 as against the full capacity of 30,000 pupils. It is the only secondary school on the isolated river island run with the help of locals. In 2016, 54 students of this school appeared in the Junior School Certificate (JSC) examination. Of them, 51 cleared their exams. Even though a total of 50 students of the school had appeared in the JSC examination in 2015, they had to complete their registration from a school in Sandwip upazila.
Mohammad Jahangir Alam, president of the school’s managing committee, told The Independent: “We have not received any permission for teaching. To get government help, we had changed the name of the school at the suggestion of an MP and the upazila chairman. In the end, we reverted to the previous name.”
“The land given to the school by locals had been given to them by the government. The government does not give permission to schools built on such land. But the land here is of the same nature everywhere,” he explained.
Alam said they were trying their best to persuade the government. “Now, our application is awaiting the district administration’s decision,” he added.
The school is currently being run with financial help from freedom fighter Lt Col Didarul Alam, Bir Protik, and local people, he said. Md Habibur Rahman, additional deputy commissioner (education & ICT) of Chittagong, told The Independent: “A school is needed on the island to serve local population. But there are procedural problems as the school stands on khas land,” he said. Rahman said the school authorities should keep in touch so that relevant documents could be sent to the ministry concerned. In 2000, the school was known as ‘Urirchar Junior High School. Upazila chairman Md Shahjan had changed its name to ‘Urirchar Bangabandhu Junior High School’ in 2009 after the Awami League came to power. But since he failed to get the approval of the Prime Minister’s Office for the school, its name was changed back to Urirchar Junior High School in 2013.
However, it was renamed again in 2014, this time as Dwipbondhu Mostafizur Rahman Junior High School, after MP Mahfuzur Rahman Mita’s father. But the MP’s reluctance forced the school back to adopting original name in 2015.
In January 11, 2013, a seven-member team from Chittagong’s Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education visited the school and submitted a report, recommending teaching permission. The report was submitted by Md Aziz Uddin, regional deputy director of the board on September 10, 2015.
Assistant commissioner of land (Sandwip) also wrote to the deputy commissioner (DC) of Chittagong on April 12, 2015, to give permission for the land of the school. Yet, the school’s fate hangs in the balance. “The salaries of 10 teachers and employees of the school are being paid from funds raised by locals and tuition charges given by the students,” said Mohammad Hasan, headmaster of the school. At present, there are 156 students in Class VI, 142 in Class VII, 92 in Class VIII, 51 in Class IX, and 20 in Class X. For the SSC-2017, a total of 18 students have registered with the school. “IAbout 200 students get admission in Class VI every year. But most of them leave after a few years as they have to register with schools in Sandwip, which is far away from here,” said the headmaster. The students of the island are being deprived of their basic rights of education, he expressed regret.