January 17, 2010, 12:00 am
Observing January 12 as heritage day will mean that students from now on have a responsibility to preserve and maintain heritage structures in the city.
After CBSE prompted city schools to include the study of heritage structures in their curriculum and also make students take an oath to protect them, several city schools are gearing up to take students on tours of monuments — including Victoria Memorial, Town Hall, Jorasanko Thakurbari, Indian National Museum, Shahid Minar and others — at regular intervals.
“In our school, we already have a Heritage Club. Its objective is to create awareness among students so that they preserve monuments and save it from any further destruction,” said principal of Birla Boy’s High School, Mukta Nain. “We take students on regular tours to these monuments. Last year, the students were taken to the Town Hall and also to observe the beautiful structures in Dalhousie Square, some of which are more than a century old. On Tuesday, though, we will not take students on a monument trip; rather, an oath will be observed after the morning prayer.”
Meena Kak, principal of Lakshmipat Singhania Academy, says, “Students of Class VIII were taken for a tour of heritage buildings, structures and monuments in the city. Now, Class IX and X students will be able to take up the study of monuments to earn points. On Tuesday, a presentation will be given to the students and then the oath will be taken. In the social science classes, the students are taught what are the important monuments in the city and their history. While on tour, we hire guides who describe the historical significance of the structures. The teachers, too, explain how they can be preserved.”
Malini Bhagat, principal of Mahadevi Birla Girls’ Higher Secondary School, welcomed the move by CBSE. “It will indeed increase awareness from the very childhood and imbibe qualities like protecting the heritage of the nation. We had already taken students to regular tours of these historical structures. On Tuesday, we plan to take the oath which will remind students of their duties,” he says.
“It is important that children in schools are aware of the heritage and that every effort should be taken to protect it. Rajiv Gandhi had said that he wanted an army of conscious keepers. The oath will make the students very much a part of the army. Every individual, once they are aware that a particular structure is a heritage, will ensure that he looks after it. Once heritage is lost, it cannot be brought back. An awareness is very important among children,” said G Kapoor, state convenor for Indian National Trust For Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH).
CBSE chairman Vineet Joshi added, “We find visitors and tourists inscribing their initials, names, places, addresses and even messages on heritage structures. An awareness among students will mean that many of these national heritage structures are protected from further damage.”