PUNE: Once again after 81 years, it was the laughter and voices of girls that reverberated in the 138-year-old New English School (NES), Tilak Road. As schools in the city re-opened on June 15 after the summer break, it was a day of celebration and pride for New English School, as again the school has opened its gates for girls.
The 138-year-old school, which is the oldest school in Pune run by Deccan Education Society (DES).
“Our aim was to create gender sensitisation and promote gender equality in the school,” said Principal of New English School, Nagesh Mone. The school has extended education to girls from Std V to IX. This year 35 girls enrolled from Std V to IX in the school.
Although the school was established by four revolutionaries Vishnu Shastri Chiplunkar, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Gopal Ganesh Agarkar and Mahadeo Ballal Namjoshi in the year 1880, it was the first of its kind school which provided western education.
Back then it was an era where government schools and Christian missionaries were more prominent.
For almost a century the school had not a single girl student in the school. “According to some records, there were a few girls in this school but over time they dropped out. Though, there were various reasons why the establishment of Ahilyadevi School for Girls witnessed shifting of girl students from NES to Ahilyadevi. Since then the school had only boy students,” said Mone.
The school has restructured its infrastructure according to the needs of girls. They have built new separate toilets for girls, security measures have been strengthened and transport staff have been strictly counselled about taking necessary safety measures for girls while commuting to school and back.
“We had also conducted sensitisation sessions with the existing boys regarding the inclusion of girls in the school. We had circulated a notice to them to forward among their family and relatives and encourage girls in their circles to join the school,” said Mone.
MAYOR GREETS GIRL STUDENTS
Pune Mayor Mukta Tilak welcomed the girl students in the school. Tilak also took their first class and sat with them in the classroom. She said the school should promote girls’ education. Sharad Kunthe, Chairman of DES, Srikrishna Kanetkar, Secretary of DES, Sunil Bandghe, Chairman of School Committee, Nagesh Mone, Principal and Manisha Menocha, Vice-Principal of the school were present to welcome these girls.