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Baral Vidya Niketan teaches kids in natural surroundings

The frontal view of 'Baral Vidya Niketan' on the bank of the Baral River at Kumargara village in Chatmohar upazila of Pabna district — FE Photo
The frontal view of 'Baral Vidya Niketan' on the bank of the Baral River at Kumargara village in Chatmohar upazila of Pabna district — FE Photo

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PABNA, Mar 09: Children at a school in Pabna are learning in natural environment, through building environmental awareness, amid laughter and joy, and taking the earthy scent.

Windowless classrooms have light so the learners can easily see trees, birds, rain, nature and can even see and touch rain.

The school building has been constructed using wood, modern technology iron, clay and bamboo.

A mud library room has been constructed on the school premises so that the students can study in a cool environment.

Laughter, joy, dancing, singing, games and celebrations are arranged so that the children can focus on their studies.

Located on the bank of the Baral River at Kumargara village in Pabna's Chatmohar upazila, the school is named after the river as Baral Vidya Niketan.

The institution is quite eco-friendly and designed to educate children in a rural environment.

On the ground floor of the two-storey school building, various education themed paintings are hung on bamboo rafters in the open balcony. Babies happily read sitting there.

The library is in a mud room next to it; so that children can go there and read books as they wish.

There is a separate classroom on the second floor for computer learning.

A mid-day meal is served to the students in a shady environment, from where they can build awareness about health and learn discipline. All students wash their hands with soap in a clean environment and eat by themselves.

After eating, they never fail to throw the garbage into a bamboo basket. It seems to be a portrait of exceptional education from a different world.The school authorities have arranged teaching in such an exceptional manner that the children are not disturbed at all.

An attempt has been made to model the school on the design of Shanti Niketan.

Cultural activities take place in the institution once a week. Children are being developed as cultured human beings.

The Baral Vidya Niketan, established in 2019, was formally inaugurated on Saturday with much grandeur.

Architect Istiaq Zahir, managing director of Vitti, an architectural firm in Dhaka, inaugurated the school. Architect Iqbal Habib spoke as the chief guest while former mayor of Chatmohar municipality Mirza Rezaul Karim Dulal delivered welcome speech at the opening ceremony conducted by painter Milan Rob.

Chatmohar Upazila Secondary Education Officer Maghreb Ali and Director of Baral Vidya Niketan SM Mizanur Rahman spoke, among others. After the speeches of the guests, guardians, dignitaries and media personalities were impressed by the parade and spectacular display by the children.

Referring to the plan of the school, Architect Iqbal Habib said the school structure was designed with an exceptionally eco-friendly and natural open environment in mind.

Where there are no windows, there is light. It is raining, but the students in the class are not having any problem. They can touch the rain with their hands.

"I have tried to capture the image of the soil of Bengal, the courtyard of Bengal, the nature, the environment, he added.

Iqbal Habib also said, "We have tried to make the school environment peaceful by integrating trees in front of the school premises where the children will feel the sky and the nature on both sides as their bond. Children will be together enjoying everything."

Technology-based computer and robotics learning systems are also available here. The pupils will learn to play, sing, draw, fly like a kite with their arms spread out, grow up and take the country forward.

Architect Istiaq Jahir said, "Bangladesh should start from seed if we want to learn by discarding western ideas. In such a place, even if there is an atmosphere around the modern education system, the retention of Bengaliana is undoubtedly commendable."

"Future modern and smart Bangladesh should be found here. Many did not expect such a school in the remote areas of Chalanbil. But now I think this school is a milestone for Bangladesh," he added.

Painter Milan Rob said, "Their idea that a completely different Bengali culture can be developed by going beyond the so-called education system and in a natural and eco-friendly way is admirable. We are thinking about painting or art ideas for children, thinking about environment and education with light. I am thinking about the work of building the country. In that sense Baral Vidya Niketan is a symbol for Bangladesh."

Alamgir Kabir, general secretary of Bangladesh Environmental Movement (Bapa), said, "We know that education is the backbone of nation. If that backbone is not strong, if it is not good, then nothing better can be expected from it. We think, the brainchild of Architect Iqbal Habib-

Baral Vidya Niketan is a field of human craftsmanship."

Founder director SM Mizanur Rahman said, "The school has been established with the aim of building an environment-friendly and humane society. We couldn't afford it then. Later Architect Iqbal Habib extended its term. His hands are in our hands. He himself designed and financed this exceptional school building. With his help, the dream we dreamed of has come true today."

He said, "The school has 280 students from class I to class VI and has 14 qualified teachers including a head teacher for 280 students. The school was established in 2019 with only class I but later classes up to VI were introduced."

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