The following article was printed
in the first School magazine(THE ACADEMY ANNUAL 1969-1970) and was written By Mr
V.N.Langer first principal of TNA
April 1956—October 1965
October 1965—December 1969
April 1956—October 1965:
Ten years seems a long period to wait for the realization of an idea—but when we
look back, after its achievement, many years after the gap seems much shorter.
The decision to start a public School in
Sikkim or, an institution more or less on the
same lines, was taken by the durbar in 1956, The idea however, could take
concrete shape only in the year 1966.
In between so much work was to be done. Not only we needed more buildings, more
equipment and new play grounds, to accommodate those students who could not be
fitted into the public school, we needed a new well-equipped and well staffed
Higher Secondary School as well.
Plans were drawn first of additional buildings for the public school and work
was started on some of these in 1957. A new annexe to the old school buildings
was declared open on April 14, 1959 and by October 1961 we had a big auditorium
as well. Plans were now made to build a new hostel but there was a slight set
back during the period of anxiety following the 1962 Chinese aggression in
India. When the situation eased a little building work was pushed on again with
vigour. Our new hostel was ready for occupation by May 1964 and soon after work
was started in the development area on buildings for the new Higher Secondary
School. After the main School building, the hostel and some staff quarters were
ready in October 1965, we were asked to go ahead with the idea of reorganizing
Tashi Namgyal Academy on public school lines. It was decided also that the new
public school should, at the beginning have seven classes only, starting from
K.G. and going up to VI as the highest class every year till we came to class XI
which should mark the final School Certificate Stage.
This policy, it was hoped, would enable us to build up an institution in which
even though the medium of instruction and the first language would be English,
it would still remain Sikkimese in its tradition and culture.
October 1965—December 1969:
There was an interval of two and half months only between the close of the last
session of Tashi Namgyal Academy, as a Higher Secondary School and start of the
first session of the new Public School which, in any case, would have been the
two busiest sessions of the institutions even if there had been no change. The
prospectus, However , had already been prepared in anticipation, but we had
still to get teachers to replace those who were going to be transferred to the
New Higher Secondary School—and it was not possible to know how many, till we
knew the number of students we were going to have in the first year.
For our syllabuses for various classes we had decided to follow the outline
approved for Anglo-Indian Schools but we had to select and order our books. A
school uniform had also to be designed and approved and official drapers were to
New tasks and new problems kept on cropping up as we grappled with the old.
The prospectus was published in November 1965 and admissions to the various
classes of the public school were declared open simultaneously. Posts of
Teachers were advertised in “Papers” and tenders for uniforms were invited from
local dealers. Only one tender was received and so prices of various items of
uniforms were fixed through negotiations. The dealer was asked also to send
samples of Ties, Socks and Stockings to the principal while he was out on tour
during January interviewing suitable candidates for teachers’ posts at the two
to three selected places in India.
On return, in February, the Principal found only forty students had applied for
admission. A more anxious situation developed when, just before the start of the
new session, out of the four new members of the staff who had been appointed two
backed out. One of those was the Matron.
The older Staff of the Higher Secondary days, who had been retained, now
gallantly rose to meet the situation.
Hurriedly a new teaching routine was drawn out and responsibilities were
redistributed among them. The principal’s wife took over the responsibility of
organizing the Hostel and its routine so that it might be ready to receive the
boarders when they came a day before the start of the session.
Suddenly there was a rush of applications for admission. In spite of many
rejections of over-age students, one section of our K.G. class was soon full and
we had to start one more to accommodate others. Admissions to Classes I,II and
III also were reasonable but rather disappointing in IV, V & VI. Few of those
students who had come from Hindi and Nepali medium schools could qualify for
admission to these classes and those parents, Whose sons and daughters were
already studying in the so called ‘English’
Schools, naturally preferred to wait till they could get an idea of the
standard of the Institution. In
Spite of this we had one hundred and thirty students on roll—more than we had
expected in the first year— and more than could be managed by the available
As the days passed the staffing problem, though not quiet solved became less
acute. A new Matron took over charge of the Hostel leaving Mrs. Langer free to
devote herself to teaching work. Two more teachers were appointed, one for the
additional section of K.G. class and the other to teach English to senior
Classes. A programme of weekly and terminal tests was drawn out and monthly and
terminal reports also made their appearance. To avoid corporal punishment except
for very serious offences, a system of yellow and red report cards was
introduced so that when verbal warnings proved ineffective the parents’
cooperation could be sought to put the students back on the right track. At the
same time, as incentives to better effort, white and gold merit cards were
awarded to students with general proficiency all round. Slowly the confidence of
the public grew and on our Annual Day even many of those who had been very
critical at first came spontaneously forward to congratulate us on the
performance of our students. The Public School had come to stay.
The second session started on 1st March 1967 with greater
confidence all round. One more class VIIth had been added and now among students
seeking admission there were also those who had been studying in ‘English”
Schools in Kalimpong and Darjeeling. Our K.G. class was split into three
sections two of Lower K.G. and one Upper. We had to split Class I also and there
were more students in our higher classes also. The total number on rolls was
Some more teachers were appointed and since games were compulsory we
needed more play grounds as well. This problem was solved by converting some
flat pieces of land into three new small play grounds, one for basket ball, the
second for junior football or senior Net-ball and the third for badminton.
To keep K.G. children engaged during the evening ‘Prep’ of other
Boarders, a K.G. Recreation Room was set up where such students could be taken
by lady teachers to play indoor games. The Recreation Room had its own set of
games, children’s books, a radio, a record player and a number of children’s
Song and Story records. A radio and sets of indoor games were issued to bigger
For all round development of the faculties of students a large number of
Co-curricular activities had already been started. On the hobbies side we had
Painting, wood-craft, leather-work, Dance Drama and Music. Later Sewing and
knitting were also added to the list for girls.
On the games side we had Football and Volley-ball for boys, Basket ball
and Hockey for boys and girls both and net-ball and base-ball for girls only.
(Cricket was introduced in 1968 and soon this game became very popular).
To keep parents informed of the school activities we started publication
of a monthly bulletin called “The Academy News” and a daily ‘News Flash’ written
by different students in turns kept them in touch with world events of
To teach the students the dignity of labour two or three ‘Self-Help’ days
were organized in every term. On such days the Staff and Students combined to
clean up the buildings and the compound, to repair fences, to clean up the
garden and to dig pits for planting, to do the painting of the benches and play
apparatus in the children’s park—and even to white wash walls of the School and
Hostel buildings which seemed particularly dirty.
We had tried to do many things during the two years and had achieved a
fair measure of success in most but still had not been able to bring about
stability in the staff position. There were too many opportunities open outside
in the Africian States and in the neighbouring towns. Teachers came and soon
left for Kalimpong, Darjeeling or for Ethiopia to take up more lucrative jobs.
However, by 1969 after the revision of grades, there was some improvement in
this direction also. Two Masters with experience of teaching in similar schools
were appointed to teach Chemistry and Biology and another Master with special
Qualifications in Games and Sports was appointed not only to teach general
subjects to middle classes but also to coach our students in Gymnastics,
Football and athletics as well. Two more Masters were appointed to take charge
of our Arts and Crafts section.
One more appointment was made in March 1970 of a highly qualified Master
to teach Mathematics to Higher Classes.
With passing of each year there had been increasing pressure of students
in our lowers classes. Since, however, we were not allowed to have sections
above class II we had to restrict admission in Lowers classes from Lower K.G. to
I also. In spite of these restrictions and withdrawals of many students, when
their parents were transferred, the number stood at 232 in 1969.
Details of changes made on the curricular and co-curricular side during 1969
will be found in the Principal’s Annual Report, extracts from which have been
published elsewhere in the issue and for 1970 session (which has just begun, as
we are going to the press) we shall present a report in the next issue, which we
hope, will paint even a better picture of the progress of the Institution.