174 years of Chittagong Collegiate School
(Established in 1836)
When I was a tiny girl who just started attending elementary school back in 1991, my brother got admitted in one of the leading schools of the country. From a very early age, I loved to do what my brother used to do. He used to play cricket and football a lot, so did I (most of the time making me injured besides working hard a lot to make the girls' gang convinced to play those games), he always loved to read story books and so I have tried to read his books though I could hardly read then! Not only this, he always loved to have chocolate bar ice-creams so I always tried having it instead of cupped ice-creams making them fall on my clothes melting! We also went to the same primary school. Funny but sweet memories. But things became different when he got himself admitted in Chittagong Collegiate School.
All my life I wanted to be in Chittagong Collegiate School wearing boys' outfit so that no one recognises me as a girl just because my brother did not study in a girls' school. Things did not work this time as Chittagong Collegiate is a boys' school, this time I completely failed to do what he did! Nonetheless, when I have started writing this story, I felt so happy. So what I couldn't make it to the school as a student, at least I am writing on the school and here there is no problem that I am a girl!
The Chittagong Collegiate School, the oldest school in Chittagong is a secondary school in the southern part of the port city. Established in 1836, it is one of the oldest schools in the country. Primarily, it was established as Chittagong Government School which was the first English medium high school in Chittagong. Its classes were held in a brick building constructed during the early years of British rule at a place between the southern part of the Parade Ground and the eastern section of the Madrasah Hills, the present location of Government Hazi Mohammad Mohshin College. The school was then shifted to a new location at the southern section of the Markot Sahib Hills. In 1886, the school was relocated to its present location at Ice Factory Road, South Nalapara, near the Chittagong Railway Station, and was named as Chittagong Collegiate School. Until the first decade of the twentieth century, the school was popularly known as the Entrance School. Mr. Kundu was its first principal and played a major role in his tenure in establishing the institution as one of the best in the country. In 2008 the Government renamed the school Chittagong Collegiate School and College.
Awarded as the country's Best School Award in 1992, the school is famous for its consistent outstanding results in public examinations. At present, with 2,000 students and 55 teachers, the school offers its students vocational education as well as academic qualifications teaching in two shifts over six days a week in its 21 classrooms. Other facilities include a library, a well-equipped computer lab, two science labs, three halls and one auditorium. It has one of the largest vocational education workshops in the country. Besides, the school has a dormitory for the residential students and has a residential area for the teachers. The school campus is considered to be one of the largest campuses in Bangladesh that includes a playground, which is one of the largest among Bangladeshi schools and also has a Mosque.
Annadacharan Khastgir, a pioneer in promoting English education in Chittagong passed the Entrance examination from this school. Dr. Muhammad Yunus, the founder of Grameen Bank, and popular novelist Humayun Ahmed were also students of this school.
Notable alumni of the school also include Scientist Dr. Abdullah Al Moti Sarfuddin; Science-fiction novelist, columnist, computer scientist and educator Dr. Muhammed Zafar Iqbal; Scientist and Professor of Physics and Mathematics in University of Chittagong (CU) Dr.Jamal Nazrul Islam; actor Abul Hayat; poet Nabinchandra Sen; former cricketer of Bangladesh Cricket Team Minhajul Abedin Nannu among others.
Starting in the year 1836, the school has successfully completed its 174 years and still doing impressively good amongst other schools of the country. This year, on March 19-20, the school welcomed its 175th year in a grand style with the third reunion. The two-day long celebrations started with a colourful procession participated by the former students of the school and eminent personalities. Amid enthusiasm, festive mood and recollections of sweet memories of the school life, former students celebrated the event with their friends and families. On the second day of the two-day celebrations, a discussion was held where media personality and eminent Litterateur Mustafa Nurul Islam was present as chief guest with Fazlus Sobhan Chowdhury in the chair. The event also included reception, raffle draw, blood donation that was followed by a cultural programme. On the eve of the reunion, former students also published a souvenir full of cherish able reminiscences by the Ex-Collegiates, photos, story of its success among others.
While talking about the school, Mohammad Aziz Uddin, the headmaster said that it has been an amazing journey of 174 years that the school successfully accomplished. According to him, it is the dedication of the teachers, faith of the parents and hard works of the students that played a major role behind the school's success. Besides continuous support from the well wishers, several initiatives by the governments helped the school to be in a leading position to spread education. He also informed that there are some more development initiatives which are in the pipeline that would facilitate students to study in a better environment.
I'm an Ex-Collegiate
Dr. Mohammad Shahbaz
Flying back to 1991.... I faced the first ever interview board in my life after qualifying the written test for getting admission into class VI of Chittagong Collegiate School. The expectations of my family as well as the name and the fame of the school themselves were too heavy for me, let alone the tough admission test. But finally I got myself among my new friends of section B (day shift). Thousands of tok-jhal-mishti memories....
I was in English Medium in my primaries and I remember I was very slow in writing Bangla and couldn't answer the examination papers in full even up to class VIII (except English papers). The 'shorol onko' notoriously disturbed me and once I got puzzled with a figure 1/1 and I wrote the result 0! Thank God that 'shorol onko' was not in the admission test...
All those memories were knocking me when I entered the school campus on the occasion of the 3rd reunion on 19th March, 2010. Although many of my classmates were working abroad, a handsome number managed to get together in spite of their busy schedules. That was after 14 big years! Chanting, shouting, adda, photo shooting all were there in the midst of a gala cultural show. All were nostalgic and recalling the school life from 1991-1996.
We were the first SSC examinees under the then newly formed Chittagong Board of Education (under the new curriculum after withdrawal of 500 Question Bank) and as ever, we did a splendid result including 7 students in the combined merit list of 20 (I myself was 9th). Yet we Collegiates were considered as 'paji' students all over Chittagong...ha ha ha...And why should it not be? There were no teachers without a nick name given by the students!
During the Tiffin Period many students would escape the school jumping from the balcony of the first floor (which was not less than 15 feet high) directly to the playground beyond the boundary wall. In fact it was considered as a heroic act then!
I foresee hundreds of Nabin Chandra Sen, Dr. Muhammad Yunus, Dr. Abdullah Al Moti Sarfuddin, Dr. Humayun Ahmed, Dr. Muhammed Zafar Iqbal, Dr. Jamal Nazrul Islam, Abul Hayat, leading all the sectors of national and international arena, declare themselves as the proud alumni of this aristocratic institute. That future is not very far away.
(The writer is an alumni of the Chittagong Collegiate School: 1991-1996 and presently serving as a Medical Officer at Sadar Hospital, Cox's Bazar.)
Reunion Of Chittagong Collegiate School
Md. Shakil Masud
Photo: Anurup Titu
The third reunion of Chittagong Collegiate School was held on 19 & 20 March on the school campus. The school has 174 years of glorious history and worthy creations like Nobel Laureate Dr. Mohammad Yunus, scientists like Dr. Md. Jafar Iqbal and Dr. Jamal Nazrul Islam and actors like Abul Hayat. The programme was held under the banner of 'Tritio Punormiloni 2010' and it was organized by the Alumni Association, Chittagong Collegiates. The two day long reunion programme included speeches, reminiscence by the former Collegiates, cultural programmes, blood donation and raffle draw.
The programme started at 10 am with a rally in which former students of different batches participated. Participators wore colorful t-shirts and carried banners, festoons, placards in the rally. Former students cheered to celebrate the 174 glorious years of this school. This rally proceeded through different streets of the city and ended at the school premises.
The inaugural session started with a slogan to be together forever. Starting off with a speech from Dr. Mostofa Nur-ul Islam, the Chief Guest and an alumnus himself, the atmosphere was actually filled with the old boyish charm that the students had once upon a time.
The students from the different batch of Chittagong Collegiate School set the flow with the recollection of their highly cherished invaluable sweet memories while the school campus made them all nostalgic and over-whelmed with emotions.
It was glorious unification of the youth and the aged as the formers of this school although coming from different generation and era, sat together in the same lunch table and shared their sweet memories of the school days while discovering that they are more alike than different. To show the strength and the commitment of the strings of brotherhood that the members of this school possess, old collegiate like Abdul Wadud Chowdhury, who has passed from this school in 1934, attended the programme. A documentary regarding the precious history of the school was shown. The guests enjoyed musical programmes where solo artists and one of the famous bands of Bangladesh, Souls performed.
Various organizations sponsored this programme to make it successful. Delicious food was served for some 3000 guests who attended the programme. A souvenir was distributed among the guests marking the occasion. Famous Alumni of different professions shared their memory about their school life on the magazine. The programme was wrapped up by thanking all the guests who made the programme a great success. The alumni association announced that they would hold a similar reunion programme on 175th anniversary.
The reunion was an epitome of friendship and brotherhood that all the Collegiates possess regardless of the difference in their age and belief. The realization was that although it is apparent that everything fades away someday but the memories and friends of the school life will remain in the hearts of the Collegiates forever.