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February 2006
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Community Initiative

School Bells Echo Amidst Paddy Fields
By A Staff Writer

In 1986, Nurul Islam set up a hostel with 11 students, collecting one fist of rice from every home in his village, Khalatpur. In January 1987, it was named as Al-Ameen Mission which has today become a .model for excellent education standards.

In a country like India, we cannot leave the less privileged to the merciless hands of the market forces. The solution to this problem perhaps lies somewhere, far away from the issue of reservations in higher education, that is terribly resented by the more meritorious. In a village called Khalatpur, a two hour drive from Kolkata in West Bengal, the institutions run by the Al-Ameen Mission takes in poor students and gives them high quality education.

The Al-Ameen Mission, an educational, cultural and social welfare organisation is a large family consisting of 2000 students, more that 800 ex-students, 200 teaching and non-teaching staff. It all started way back in 1976 when the current Secretary General of the Mission, Nurul Islam set up the Khalatpur Junior High Madrasa when he was still studying in the 10th Std in his village, Khalatpur. He is now the Founder-Secretary of the Madrasa. Graduating from the Maulana Azad College in Kolkata, Nurul Islam completed his M.A. in Political Science from Kolkata University. Right from his childhood, his passion to help the downtrodden was top priority. This non-residential Madrasa has 750 students from the fifth to the 10th Std. The syllabus followed is that of the Secondary Board and State Government Syllabus, plus two. Another unique feature in this institution is that advanced Arabic language and Fiqh is also taught to the students. In May 1984, Nurul Islam started the Institute of Islamic Culture and in January 1986, set up a hostel with 11 students with the collection of one fist of rice from every home in his village Khalatpur. In January 1987, it was named as Al-Ameen Mission. The Al-Ameen Mission for Boys, Khalatpur, Howrah is one of the branches. It is a residential academic institution for classes fifth to the 12th. The Boys campus comprises about 45 bighas of land with boundary walls amidst paddy fields. It consists of a five-storied boys hostel building (32,000 sq.ft), a five-storied senior boys hostel building, a three-storied school building and a three-storied administrative building with guest house, health centre and a science laboratory. There are about 1115 students in this school, with residential staff of 200 and part-time and non-residential staff of 50. The syllabus is the West Bengal Board of Secondary Education.

The Al-Ameen Mission for Girls, Khalatpur, Howrah is a residential academic institution for classes fifth to 12th. The area measuring about 15 bighas is dotted with flower plants and fruit-bearing trees. There are about 357 students in this school. In the 11th and the 12 Std, there are over 300 students following the West Bengal Council of Higher Secondary Education syllabus. The Al-Ameen Mission receives over 6000 applications for admissions from the whole of West Bengal. The admission test is held at 28 centres. The students go through a pre-selection exam, an interview and a test of reasoning. The intake of students for the campus is around 500 to 600. The Mission is flooded with more than 1000 applications for the 11th Std and the intake is around 150 students. In the residential schools for boys and girls, recitation of Quran is compulsory after Fajr prayers for the classes from the 5th to the 8th Std.

The Al-Ameen Mission for Boys, Belpukur, Dakshin Dinajpur (North Bengal branch, upto class 10) has grown in a free rural environment. This campus has been set up for the benefit of the educationally backward people of North Bengal. The Al-Ameen Mission for Boys, Patharchapuri, Birbhum has been constructed at Patharchapuri village in the district of Birbhum near the holy shrine of Hazrath Data Mahboob Shah Wali (RA) . The West Bengal Wakf Board has donated 10 acres of land for the Mission.

The Al-Ameen Mission has become popular in the field of education and it was also awarded “The Telegraph School Award for Excellence” by The Telegraph, a widely circulated English Daily of the Anandabazar group of publications. The Mission shared the award with the South Point High School, Kolkata in 2002.

The zakat fund takes care of 25 per cent of the seats reserved for the poor, destitute and orphans. The Scholarship Programme helps poor, but meritorious students who do not get admission in the Mission. They are brought to the Mission during vacations to participate in the education programme conducted by the Mission.

Study Circle is a branch of Al-Ameen Mission for Residential West Bengal JEE (Med/Engg) and WBCS (West Bengal Civil Services) coaching and is housed at Park-Circus High School, Kolkata. Perhaps it is the first Residential Coaching Centre in Kolkata. Classes are held on Saturdays and Sundays. Over 200 medical students received coaching from the Al-Ameen Mission Study Circle and 57 got admissions. For the JEE, 180 students receive the coaching and 30 for the WBCS.

With excellent education standards, the Al-Ameen Mission has become a model for many institutions across India as it caters to the need of the poor. These students are talented, work hard, pass with flying colours, compete and later get admission in higher education.

For more insight into the Mission, contact: Nurul Islam, Al Ameen Mission, 53B Elliot Road, Kolkata-700016. Ph: 033-22293769 / 47222. Mob: 94330 11730. Email: [email protected]