Monday, 11 December 2017

St. John's Diocesan Girl's school, one of the oldest in Kolkata


St. John's Diocesan Girls' H.S. School,Kolkata stjohndiocesan.in
Soon after the British Government directly took over the administration of India after 1857 from the East India company that had run the proxy  government for the Crown, much emphasis was placed on western education and, in this respect, many missionaries arrived in India in the late 19th century to impart sciences, languages etc., based on Western models. Besides male missionaries, female missionaries also landed in India and many of them realized that Indian  woman's position in the conservative and superstitious Indian society was quite pathetic as  she was not allowed either to venture out of home or attend schools. The belief had been that education was of no use to the women whose area of activities was their home, in particular, kitchen. Their responsibility was to take care of domestic chores and the needs of the family. The women missionaries  decided to open schools to educate the young girls to understand the values of knowledge  and the need to become literate.  St. John's Diocesan Girls' school in Kolkata is one among the  girls institutions founded by women missionaries. 

St. John's Diocesan Girls' school, one of the oldest girls' schools in Calcutta (Kolkata), West Bengal, was


Angelina Margaret Hoare ,cnicalcutta.org


founded in 1876 by one Angelina Margaret Hoare (17 May 1843 – 10 January 1892), a  devoted British missionary from Kent, England along with Ms. Millman, missionary from England.  It was located at Elgin and Sarat Bose Roads in South  Calcutta. Apart from doing missionary work, Angelina paid  serious  attention to  the advancement of woman's education in British India so that she could read and write, face challenges in her society  independently and help  other women come out of the conservative closet and lead their lives with confidence. This way  women would  be of immense help to their families, neighbors, communities  and the nation. 

Kolkata. St. John's Diocesan Girls' H.S. School,campus en.wikipedia.org
In 1894, the administration of the school was handed over to the Sisters of the Community of John the Baptist Convent, Clewer, England and the school was named St. John's Diocesan by the Clewer Sisters of John the Baptist from Windsor, Berkshire.

With  respect to admission to the school, initially, Ms. Angelina Hoare had poor response from the local community  and had to be content with few students. In those olden days, in the conservative society, girls had no access to basic education in many parts of India. However, over a period of time, the school grew in stature; so was the number of girl students getting into the school. That it became the only reputed Christian woman's institution  in the entire NE India from 1908-31 bears testimony to the hard work and dedication shown by the teachers and the school management of St. John's Diocesan school.

Ms. Angelina was a woman of foresight, vision and above all catholicity. She was of the strong opinion that the school belonged to all people in the society regardless of social status or group. One could understand her true belief about the Diocean School from her letter to her brother in England. She died in 1892 when she was just 48 years old.


Unfortunately, the school earned the ire of the British government in the wake of a  serious incident againt the government. A student of this school,  one Beena Das (who happened to be a freedom fighter) on 7 April 1931 shot the then Governor, Stanley Jackson. This resulted in the  loss of  recognition of the  status of the school by the British Government. During its earlier days till the 1970s it was a coeducational institution and after1970s, it has become  exclusively a girls' educational institution, devoted to their  advancement and better educational opportunities. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._John%27s_Diocesan_Girls%27_Higher_Secondary_School