Students of Adarsha Secondary School, Ilam learn in a computer class in this recent picture. Bhim Chapagain/Republica
ILAM, Aug 11: The oldest school in Ilam district, Adarsha Secondary School, was recently declared a ‘smart school’. The school has a direct connection with Nepali Congress leader Kul Bahadur (KB) Gurung, former spokesperson Subhas Chandra Nemwang and former prime minister Jhalanath Khanal. All of these three leaders are its former students, while Gurung also served as a teacher there. And among the students, he taught include Nembang and Khanal.
“I did my SLC from Adarsha school. KB sir was our English teacher. But instead of teaching English, sometimes he would teach us politics,” Nembang said, remembering school days. “It feels so great to see this school transforming into a model school. This school stands out in this region,” he added.
When it was opened in BS 2004, its name was Padmodaya High School. Later, it was renamed as Asdarsha Secondary School. Even in those days, the school was popular in the district. But mushrooming of private institutions around eclipsed its fame for some time.
But in recent years, students from private schools not just from Ilam but even from other districts are enrolling here. Due to limited seats, the school rejects many applications. Technology friendly education, excellent results, affordable fees, glorious history, mesmerizing location, pleasant climate and excellent school infrastructures – all combined has made it a choice of everyone.
On the basis of the school’s modern technologies and other facilities, Nembang announced the school as a smart school amid a formal program recently. “This school is now a smart school equipped with the best communication and technologies,” said Nembang.
The school boasts of computers, CCTV cameras, projectors and smartboards. The school does not even use white boards, let alone the traditional blackboards. Teachers use only smart boards. Students learn through the use of digital technologies.
“Even little ones are apt in surfing the internet, googling and gathering necessary materials for their course books. The school has a completely child-friendly environment,” said the school principal Kumar Poudel. “In the old days, children would take learning as a tough job, but no more. They all love the way the school is handling them,” he added.
Due to CCTVs, observing students’ activities have become more comfortable for Poudel. He watches them from his office room.
“Teaching and learning have become so vast. Every information comes so accessible these days,” said the principal Poudel. “For smart class, we do have separate software that makes learning all the subjects very easy. Students do not feel bored; instead learning is fun for them.”
Sixth to ninth-graders have computer as a subject though all students are familiar with digital learning. In the computer section, there are 48 computers which are used at once by as many students.
According to a computer technician at the school Harinanda Niraula, digital teaching is exciting. “Students learn in an amicable manner in computer class. Around 50 students can sit in the class at once,” he added.
There are a total of 1,363 students in the school currently. Nearly half more had sought admission which the school could not accommodate.
According to an official in the administration section, Hemraj Basnet, students in the higher levels are more attracted to the school. He assumes it is because of quality education at a minimum fee.
“Other schools are very costly if they offer high technologies and other modern facilities. Here, there are all kinds of popular courses and latest technologies. And yet, the fee is so less,” he said.
The school introduced class 11 and 12 two decades ago. It started with science stream and added humanities and management streams later on. The school charges only Rs 9,000 as admission fees and just Rs 900 as monthly fees for science stream students. For other streams, it is even lower than that.
“Students come here from Panchthar, Taplegunj, Jhapa and other districts. There is a very tough competition to get admission here,” principal Poudel said.
The school provides residential service to 20 female students in the science stream. Similarly, Dalit students can study here in the plus two levels for free for one year. They are also provided with free books. The school has recently established a fund of Rs seven million to provide for these expenses. “This fund gives us 13 percent interest, which we use for meeting the school’s expenditure needs,” said Naresh Shrestha, chairperson of Ilam Municipality, “We are in a campaign to make this oldest school of the district the top school in the entire province,” he added.
As a former student, Nembang has also been putting in efforts to improve the school’s status further, according to the principal Poudel.