Lot more than Classrooms
COURTESY: PLEDGE HARBOR SCHOOL
WITH a cricket field that has a potential to host matches at a professional level and the availability of specialised training provided by coaches from different sporting federations of the country, the Pledge Harbor School and Sports Academy seems to be the dream institute for young sporting enthusiasts.
Despite the eccentric sporting facilities, Martin F Mai, the school's principal claims that the institution's primary focus would be on academics, followed by sports. “At Pledge Harbor we concentrate on developing a student's all-round ability, which is a mixture of sports, studies and co-curricular activities,” said Mai.
With over 25 years of experience in the education sector, Mai started his teaching career in his home country, Canada. After successful stints in various educational levels at home, he continued his career in Syria for two years before arriving in Bangladesh. With a considerable amount of international experience, Mai hopes to create an environment that helps students understand and appreciate the vital elements of different cultures. “We plan to make the school comfortable for both national and international students and hence create an environment with mixed cultures,” said Mai. He further said that parents who prefer sending their children outside the country for schooling can now send them to a school that is much nearer and provides good quality education at the same time.
According to Mai, the most important task in a student's life is to follow a disciplined routine. “Most of the students nowadays, don't follow a proper schedule. At Pledge Harbor we plan to follow a strict time-table which ensures a disciplined growth,” he explained. Due to the school's semi-boarding system, students would have to follow a required schedule even after school hours. Such schedules, according to Mai, would help develop a student's all round ability; a factor that many other English-medium students in the city tend to miss out on, due to time-tables packed with private tuitions. The school also plans to allow students to go home during the weekends in order to give them a break.
A former athlete himself, Mai believes that Bangladesh has a rich sporting culture. According to the Canadian national, this is one such sector of the country that has high potential and requires support. “When I walk down the streets of Dhaka, I see people playing cricket, football, badminton in the most crowded areas,” he exclaimed. Thus, with an aim to tap this potential and attract students from all walks of life, the school plans to provide scholarships to deserving candidates every year. “We are planning to give away 60 scholarships this year, based on the students' abilities,” said Mai.
With an aim to expand in the near future, the school plans to open a Kindergarten section and a boarding school for girls in the next five years. “We are planning to take one step at a time; currently we are focusing on the boys campus at Maona,” said Mai.
With the state of the art facilities and a visionary principal, the Pledge Harbor School and Sports Academy aims to travel a path, very few schools have chosen. One hopes that the creation of this school inspires many others in the education sector to provide equal importance to sports, studies and other school related activities; as at the end of the day, it is a school's duty to ensure the overall development of students.