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POST TIME: 13 September, 2018 00:00 00 AM
Pogose School
Maria Mohsin

Pogose School

Pogose School was established in 1848 as the first private school of Bengal by Armenian merchant Nicholas Pogose.

The Pogose Anglo Vernacular School started on the ground floor of the Pogose residence at Armanitola in old Dhaka. Nicholas ‘Nicky’ Pogose, who was a former student of Dhaka Collegiate School, was its first headmaster.

In 1855, the school moved to a rented house owned by JC Panioty of Armanitola. In 1860, it was relocated to a two-storied building at Sadarghat. The school was managed by Nicholas Pogose until his death in 1876. In 1878, the school was taken over by banker Mohini Mohan Das, who continued to run the institution under its original name. After Das’s death in 1896, his estate maintained the school and moved it to its present location at Chittaranjan Avenue, next to Jagannath University.

Pogose School passed through difficult times during World War II, Partition in 1947 and our Liberation War of 1971. The school faced closure many times during wartime, but it managed to survive. In the 1980s, it started losing its position as a top school to competition from newer schools.

The school was a boys’ school in the beginning, but it become a co-ed school in 1996 by including girls in the morning shift. In 2015, Pogose School signed an agreement with Jagannath University to run the school under the university authorities. The school is now renamed as Pogose Laboratory School and College, Jagannath University. At present, the school has 2,500 students, from kindergarten to class 10, and its standard is improving.

Mohammad Shariful Alam, assistant headmaster of Pogose Laboratory School and College, told this reporter: “All the other renowned schools of the area are losing their past glory, Pogose School is no different. But since becoming a laboratory school, it is now directly controlled by the VC (vice chancellor) of Jagannath University, and things are improving for sure. We can already see renewed interest of parents to admit their children to this school. So hopefully, it will get back into top position soon, just like before.”

Razat Kumar, a teacher of Kalatia Degree College and a former student of Pogose School, added: “I am a former student of the school and I graduated in 1984. After that, I completed my education from Dhaka University and devoted my life to teaching. For me, Pogose School and my old teachers have always been my inspiration. The school is very special to me. I took my children once to visit my old school and I showed them around the 19th Century school building. It brought back many old memories and I felt so proud for being a part of this historical institution.”

One can still see the old school building of Pogose House, standing in a dilapidated condition on one side of the school grounds. The building is not in use anymore, but it still symbolises the glorious history and rich traditions of the school. Classes are now held in a new building nearby.

On the wall of the headmaster's room, an old portrait of Nicholas Pogose hangs prominently and catches a visitor’s eye. The portrait is believed to have been painted by C Pote, a teacher of the school in its early days.

Many famous personalities were students of this prestigious private school, and they include PK Roy, the first Bengali principal of Dhaka College, Girish Chandra Sen, the first translator of the Quran into Bengali, Babu Mathuramohan Chakraborty, founder of Ayurvedic medicine house Sakti Ausadhalaya, poets Shamsur Rahman and Kaykobad (Kazem Ali Quereshi), writer Nowsher Ali Khan Yusufzai, cartoonist Ranabi (Rafiqun Nabi), comedian Bhanu Banerjee, and many more.

Photos: Courtesy, Internet.