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Netarhat Residential School

Netarhat Residential School (हिन्दी:नेतरहाट आवासीय विद्यालय) is a prestigious school which is known to impart moral values with emphasis on all-round development of the students. The school has a record of producing toppers of the Bihar School Examination Board year after year. After the creation of the state of Jharkhand in the year 2000, it comes under the purview of Jharkhand Board.The students of this school have also dominated the Regional Mathematics Olympiad and NTSE (National Talent Search Examination) conducted by NCERT. The students have been doing quite well in inter-school competitions in academics, debate, essay and sports. The spirit of healthy competition is inculcated right from the very beginning, by means of inter-house and inter-set competitions.

History

Netarhat Residential School was established on 15 November 1954, after the independence of India, to provide a centre of academic excellence for the people of state of Bihar, irrespective of their economic conditions, caste and creed with the initiatives of the first chief minister of Bihar, Dr. Sri Krishna Sinha. Notable educationist Mr. F. G. Pearce played a vital role in chalking out the plan for the Netarhat Residential School (or Netarhat Vidyalaya) and he received kudos from Dr. Rajendra Prasad, then the President of India.

Alumni

The alumni of Netarhat school have excelled in almost all the fields including administration, research, medicine, engineering and education.Every year scores of them make it to the prestigious institutions like IIT, AIIMS and other engineering and medical institutes. The ones who make it to the Civil Services (selection done by UPSC) and the likes, also attribute a great deal to the teachings at the school among other factors. The alumni association is popularly known as NOBA - Netarhat Old boys Association and camaraderie among the alumni is exemplary. There are different chapters of NOBA and the members meet regularly to cherish the old memories and try to make some positive difference to the lives of others.

Some outstanding Alumni

  • Trinath Mishra - Director, Central Bureau of Investigation (Retired)
  • Prakash Chandra Jha - Chief Commissioner, Customs & Central Excise, Jawahar Lal Nehru Port Trust
  • Anand Kumar- Head, Indian Oil Refinery, Bugusarai
  • Kaushal Kishore- DRM, Mumbai Central
  • Rajiv Ranjan Sinha - Principal Secretary, Maharashtra (Retired)

                                 - Managing Director, Maersk Shipping

  • Paras Chowdhary - Managing Director, Ceat Ltd.
  • Anand Sinha - Executive Director, Reserve Bank of India

Ambiance

The school is situated far away from disturbed and busy life of town, on the plateau of Chhotanagpur, in the state of Jharkhand (undivided Bihar) in India which is known for its scenic beauty. The whole atmosphere is based on Guru Kul - away from home, staying in Ashrams, simple and country made dress based on the Gandhian philosophy, continuing to provide excellent environment. The school has produced citizens who are following the motto of school Atta Dipa Viharatha - be thy own light. It rightly motivates students to be self-dependent and instills in them confidence to face challenges of life. Great emphasis is laid on the all-round development (sarvangeen vikas) of the students. The brought up is such that discipline is self-induced rather than being enforced by the school authorities. The school has literally no boundaries and students very often go to the nearby forests, hills and waterfalls to have a rendezvous with nature.

Location

Netarhat (23°28'48"N 84°16'11"E) is located at an elevation of 1250 meters and is renowned for spectacular sunrises, sunsets, waterfall, beautiful flora and fauna. The nearest major railway station and airport is Ranchi, which is at a distance of 156 Kilometers. There are regular buses for Netarhat from Ranchi and Palamau. Tourists from all over India and abroad visit Netarhat for the spectacular sunrise, sunset and for the invigorating forest air and tranquility. Dense forests, serpentine roads, cool bracing breeze, moonlit nights must have persuaded the English to call this place Nature's Heart (Netarhat). However, some argue that the place got its name from 'Netur Haat' (which means a marketplace for bamboo in the local language). Apart from bamboo, the pine and sakhua trees add to the beauty of this place. The waterfalls Upper Ghaghri, Lower Ghaghri, Tahir, Boodhha Ghaagh and the Koel river are picturesque and soothing at the same time.

Admission and Curricula

Admission to the School, which is run by the govt. of Jharkhand (since inception it was run by Govt. of Bihar till the separation of state.), is given on the basis of three stages of examination comprising of descriptive and multiple-choice written tests, psychological tests and personal interview. Boys between 10 to 12 years of age who are domiciles of the state can apply for admission on a prescribed form through Sub-divisional Education Officers.As many as 20000+ students used to vie for a bare 100 seats (60 till the year 1982) just before the separation of the state of Bihar.There are a certain number of seats reserved for the students belonging to the scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and other backward classes as defined by the state government.
Selected students are provided education up to 10+2 level. The medium of instruction is Hindi and the curriculum is based on the standards set by Jharkhand School Examination Board and the Jharkhand Intermediate Education Council. For the students of first three years (Class VII to IX) the school has developed its own curriculum with provision for compulsory training in Music, Fine Arts, Agriculture and Crafts.
Lately computer studies has also been introduced in the school.

Administrative Setup and Staff

This School has been placed under the direct control of the Secretary, Education Department to help the School Administration function properly and smoothly, the Human Resource Development Department, Govt. of Bihar / Govt. of Jharkhand through its notification constituted an Executive Committee, headed by the Divisional Commissioner as its Chairman. The Principal is the Secretary of the Executive Committee. As it is purely Government Institution, its entire administrative system is governed and controlled by the Govt. rules and regulations.

All the teachers who are Gazetted Govt. servants have been entrusted different academic and administrative control. The Principal is overall controlling officer and is vested with drawing and disbursing power. Teachers come from all over the country whose appointments are made on the recommendations of the state public service commission. Some of them have also gone abroad for teaching and studies under different sponsored programmes. A few teachers of the past and present have also been awarded by the President of India. Press Information Bureau, Government of India

There are experienced instructors for P.T. Crafts and some of the science subjects.

Shri Charles James Nepier was the first principal of the school. Here is a list of all the principals till date.

Name From To
Mr. Charles James Nepier Apr 1954 Aug 1955
Mr. Radha Sinha Sep 1955 Mar 1956
Mr. Jeevannath Dar Apr 1956 Dec 1966
Mr. Birendra Kumar Sinha Jan 1967 Feb 1976
Dr. Ramdev Tripathi Feb 1976 Feb 1979
Mr. Kailash Narayan Mehrotra Jun 1979 Oct 1980
Mr. Mithilesh Kanti Oct 1980 Sep 1983
Mr. Dwarika Prasad Sinha Sep 1983 Apr 1986
Mr. Satya Narayan Singh Nov 1986 Apr 1988
Mr. Mangal Dev Pandey Aug 1988 Apr 1990
Dr. Param Mitra Sashtri Apr 1990 Sep 1991
Mr. K.N.Vasudevan Aug 1991 Sep 1995
Mr. Kamleshwar Prasad Oct 1995 Sep 2000
Mr. Narendra Prasad Sep 2000 Aug 2003
Mr. Binod Kumar Karn Sep 2003 Date

Co-curricular Activities

Regular games, sports and physical training form a part of the routine at the Netarhat School. The school has senior division Naval wing besides the three junior divisions of N.C.C.National Cadet Corps (India) - Army, Air and Naval. There are four Scout troops for junior boys and they can also opt for the Red Cross Society. Training in yoga and gymnastics is also imparted to the boys and girls. Athletics and cross-country competitions are held regularly besides various sports tournaments. The school is well equipped with the facilities for playing games like football, hockey, volleyball, tennis, basketball, cricket, badminton, table tennis, kho kho, kabaddi, carrom and chess. Annual tournaments are held for most of these games and students also get a chance to participate in various inter-school tournaments.

The school has facilities for hobbies like wood-work, metal-work, aeromodelling, claymodelling, gardening, photography, painting and rifle training. Dramas in Hindi and English, debates, elocution and antyakshri competitions are held at regular intervals. The students have performed quite well in dramatics and some of them also got a chance to participate in the 6 week long camp held on the plateau by National School of Drama.The picturesque locale has also attraced the directors of some of the flicks including the Hindi movie Hip Hip Hurray.

Educational tours to different parts of the country are also organised by the school. The school has its own printing press where the school magazine Sarjana is printed. Thus the students get an opportunity to learn the basics of journalism and printing.

Library and Laboratories

The school has a well stocked library consisting of more than forty thousand books on various subjects. The open shelf system enables students to have an easy access to the books of their choice. Almost all important dailies, weeklies and magazines including some foreign journals are available in the library. The science laboratories are well-equipped and in fact better than those in a typical college in the state. However, the school still lags behind in the infrastructure required for computer education.

Fees

Fees are charged according to the income of the guardians. Poor but meritorious students are imparted free education. Clothes, books and other necessary stuff are also provided by the school. Food and lodging are subsidised for every student. Great care is taken to maintain uniformity among students. It is hugely funded by the government of Jharkhand and the annual budget is close to USD 500,000.

Hostels

All the students live in hostels which are called Ashrams. Every Ashram is headed by an Ashramadhyaksha or housemaster who is a teacher. All the teachers are addressed as Shriman ji. The housemasters and their wives, who are reverentially called Mataji (Mother), not only live in the Ashrams, but they also have their meals with the boarders. Nutritious and delicious meals, including fruits, dry fruits, milk, egg, mutton, chicken, sweets, green and leafy vegetables etc. are served which is prepared under the supervision of Mataji. This makes it easier for the children drawn from different backgrounds to adjust themselves without any psychological strain. The senior students command great respect and help their juniors in all possible ways. The seniors are addressed with ji suffixed to their names which is common way of showing respect in India among the Hindi speaking population. This tradition continues even after the students pass out of the school.

The entire Ashram chores is done by the inmates themselves by rotation including sweeping the rooms, washing utensils, cleaning toilets, serving food etc. This removes all the personal angularities. The boarders follow a routine with provisions for swadhyaya(self-study), rest, P.T., games and sports, daily chores, television, group activities etc.

There is a sick-room with full-time medical officer to take care of the sick students.

The students are not allowed to sport any clothes or accessories other than those provided by the school to ensure uniformity.

Hostels are grouped into seven sets or ashram - wargas for purpose of smooth administration and promoting healthy competition.

Set (Ashramvarga) Houses (Ashrams)
1st Set Arun, Shanti, Gautam
2nd Set Anand, Prem, Arjun
3rd Set Ashok, Kishore, Saket
4th Set Nalanda, Vikram, Taxila
5th Set Bhabha, Raman, Bose
6th Set Arvind, Ramkrishna, Pradeep
7th Set Kanva, Kapil, Kanad

Surroundings

Netarhat plateau is an abode of a variety of flora and fauna thanks to its supportive climate and copious rain. Pine martins, porcupines, leopards, monkeys, bears, civets, monitor lizards, wild pigs, scorpions, snakes and other species are commonly found in and around Netarhat. Occasional spotting of elephants and tigers is also reported as Netarhat forest is very close to the Betla Tiger Sanctuary. Some of the most endangered species of Indian snakes can be found here including pythons. Netarhat School's biology laboratory has a collection of live and preserved snake varieties that include cobras, pit vipers, tree snakes and pythons. Apart from the bamboo clusters the place got its name from, almost all variety of tropical trees like mango, sal, neem, gulmohar, amaltas, mahua, etc can be found here and even trees of cold climate like pine, silver fur, bottle brush, thuja are found in plenty. Dried pine leaves and pine cones can be found scattered on road sides and on forest slopes. "Chilgoza" or the pine nut is type of an aromatic and nutritious dry fruit and is very popular amongst students. Apart from the natural trees and forests, the school has its own fruit orchard where pear, plum, guava, fig, peach, etc. are grown in plenty. Netarhat School has a well maintained flower garden that includes over 100 specious of common and exotic flowers. Students are encouraged to memorize the common and scientific names of all flowers and trees in the garden.

Netarhat School is surrounded by many friendly tribal villages and the locals find good employment opportunities in serving the school. The are over dozen tribal communities, each with their unique customs and festivals. Students can often hear in the night distant drumming sounds of tribal dance and rituals and on festivals like Sarhul and Pooja the fair organized by the locals provides a good break for the students from their otherwise busy academic sessions.

Netarhat plateau, also referred to as the Queen of Chotanagpur is studded by a number of stunningly beautiful natural landmarks and tourist spots. Koel view, Magnolia sunset point, Lodh waterfalls, Lower Ghagari waterfall - to name a few. There is no dearth of picnic spots in and around Netarhat School and group of students under supervision of their respective house masters(ashramadhyaksha) traditionally go to spend a weekend once in a year during the "mid-term break". Some of the most popular spots are Banari on the banks of the Koel river, Upper Gahgari waterfall near Netarhat dam, Tahir, Naina, Aadhe, and Raja Dera.

Criticism

The medium of instruction is Hindi and hence the students do not feel confident enough while communicating in English, which has become important in the modern world. It is an all-boys school and students do not get enough chance to interact with many people. Some feel that these become drawbacks when they pass out of the school, especially when dealing with the fairer sex. Lack of proper infrastructure for computer education has also been a cause of concern. Some also feel that the students become pliant as they are not encouraged to question their seniors and teachers. Teenager boys made to do the chores like mopping the floor, cleaning common toilets and doing the dishes have also faced criticism, especially when there is lack of basic amenities like running water, 24-hour electricity, water heating equipments and healthcare. The connectivity to the school from the other parts of Bihar and Jharkhand is not considered up to the mark. People have also questioned the rationale of the state government spending such a huge amount on a select few students when the state exchequer is already under pressure to fund primary education. The wider criticism of caste-based reservation also holds good for reservation in the selection of the students and teachers for the school. Very few students opt to continue their studies in the school at 10+2 levels for want of quality teachers and proper guidance. Sometimes the irregularities in the admission process have also been alleged, although with no concrete proofs.

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