M A I N   N E W S

Dasmesh Academy on revival path
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Anandpur Sahib, March 13
After being on the verge of closure, Sri Dasmesh Academy, here, is back on the rails. With financial and other assistances coming in from several quarters, the institute is in the process of overcoming the crisis which had cast uncertainty over the fate of students as well as staff members.

Over the past few months, the academy’s infrastructure has been rebuilt, with new furniture for classrooms and hostel dormitories being procured and a new computer laboratory being set up. Some of the buildings and the campus area have also been given a facelift.

“We have spent about Rs 15 lakh towards this end,” Mr A.K. Sharma, the academy’s new Director-cum-Principal said. “Finances were made available by grants from various sources as well as the trust which runs it,” he added. He had assumed this appointment in July and the academy, which runs classes up to Class XII, had been without a head for several months prior to it.

The Principal said efforts to get the institute back on rails received a major boost when two big adventure and sports events were organised at the academy recently. An ex-students’ meeting organised a few weeks ago also elicited a warm response, with the alumni coming in to contribute their bit to the academy’s revival. Some of them also agreed to sponsor a new student at the academy and the entry of each new student in a changed environment is expected to set of a cascading effect

The academy was facing dire financial constraints, which was the prime reason for recommending is closure. In fact, the management had forwarded termination notices for the staff members to the then Principal in February. The decision to close down the academy, according to staff members, had made been by former Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, as far back as February 2003 and orders to this effect were signed by him in December 2004.

“The academy is still not financially self-reliant, but we are making a headway,” Mr Sharma said. Apart from grants, the academy’s sole source of income is from student fees. At present, it has on its rolls 277 students, including 74 girls. Among them are 34 boarders. “We reckon that if we have 200 boarders, we will be financially sustainable,” Mr Sharma said. “This year we hope to enroll about 70 boarders and we expect to achieve our target of financial sustainability in two or three years,” he claimed. The hostel has a capacity of 500 students.

Spread over a sprawling campus of 204 acres, the academy’s foundation stone was laid on September 24, 1978 by the then President Neelam Sanjeeva Reddy. It started functioning in July 1980, when the first batch of students arrived for classes III, IV and V. Fifty per cent seats in the academy are reserved for wards of serving and former defence personnel.

“We are also redesigning the academy’s core curriculum and laying greater emphasis on co-curricular activities, sports and extra coaching were required. We are also conducting professional development capsules for the faculty and are constantly reviewing and re-adjusting and rebuilding strategies to ensure that the process remains firmly on track,” Ms Benu Khanna from the India Trust, which is assisting in rebuilding the academy, said. “We have no magic wand to bring in an overnight change. What we are aiming for would be accomplished over a period of time,” she added.

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