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Nestled in the misty enclave with its sylvan and idyllic surroundings lies Tashi Namgyal Academy, an English medium co-educational residential-cum day school in the capital of Sikkim, Gangtok.
Tashi Namgyal Academy was founded in 1966 by the
late Sir Tashi Namgyal, K.C.S.I. & K.C.I.E., the
eleventh consecrated Ruler of Sikkim. He was an
ardent crusader for education and under his tutelage
the portals of learning were established. The
present Academy was shaped out of Sir Tashi Namgyal
High School which was affiliated with Calcutta
University. As a High School it was headed by three
headmasters at various times, Mr. C.E. Dudley was
the first headmaster. He established the school in
the military barracks used by troops of Sir Francis
Young Husband in 1903. Mr. A.K. Sarkar took over
from Mr. Dudley and Mr. K.L. Kapoor was the last
headmaster in the line.
The decision to start a public School in Sikkim or, an institution more or less on the same lines, was taken by the durbar in 1956. In April 1956, Mr. V.N. Langer, Ma (English), M.A. (Economics), LL.B. L.T., a Housemaster from Daly College, Indore was offered the post of Principal. He was entrusted with the task of organizing a new school and reorganizing the old one on modern lines, Mr. N.K. Rustumiji, ICS, the then Dewan of Sikkim, was the driving force in drawing out plans for a school which was to run on public school lines. Prince Palden Thondup Namgyal, second son of the Founder, along with Dewan N.K. Rustumji and Mr. V.N. Langer formed an excellent team to reorganize the school on public school lines, and they were the people who were the main architects of Tashi Namgyal Academy. A Governing Body for the administration, management and control of Sir Tashi Namgyal High School, Gangtok was constituted under the Chairmanship of Maharaja Kumar Saheb.
Plans were drawn up first for the additional
buildings for the public school and work started on
some of these in 1957. A new annexe to the old
school buildings was declared open on April 14, 1959
and by October 1961 the school had a big auditorium
as well. The same year the school was upgraded to
the Higher Secondary Level (Class XI) and the first
batch passed out in 1964. Plans were now made to
build a new hostel but there was a slight set back
during the period of anxiety following the 1962
Chinese aggression in India. When the situation
eased a little building work was pushed on again
with vigour. The new hostel was ready for occupation
by May 1964 and soon after work was started in the
development area on buildings for the new Higher
Secondary School. The same year the school campus
was demarcated with two main gates, the Upper Gate
and the Main Lower Gate were both built in
traditional Sikkimese architecture.
After the main School building, the hostel and some staff quarters were ready in October 1965, Mr. V.N. Langer was asked to go ahead with the idea of reorganizing Tashi Namgyal Academy on public school lines. It was decided also that the new public school should, at the beginning have seven classes only, starting from K.G. and going up to VI as the highest class every year till it came to class XI which should mark the final School Certificate Stage.
The school was blessed by the august visit of the
first Prime Minister, Shri Jawaharlal Nehru on
October 1, 1958 who left behind his impressive
“It is a pleasure to visit this school so delightfully situated, young as it is, it has already developed well and the boys are bright and attractive looking. All best wishes for its progress.”
In addition to this the then Political Officer of
Sikkim and Bhutan, Shri Apa B. Pant too visited this
school on 25 October 1958 and left behind the
following comments- “Whenever I visit this school, I see each time
change-change for the better. I am sure that under
able guidance of Shri Langer this school will
develop into an institution where not only future
citizens of Sikkim will learn to serve their
country, but where sectarianism, communalism,
bigotry, small mindedness, pursuit of power will
have no place. Let us hope that this institution
will guide the youth of Sikkim to become humane,
compassionate and full of spirit of humanity and
service and in short to follow Dharma.”
On the auspicious occasion of the opening of the Annexe of Tashi Namgyal Academy, the main school building on 14th April 1959, His Highness Sir Tashi Namgyal outlined the reason for which the school was re-named as Tashi Namgyal Academy. He said, “In the past it has been difficult for children of poor parents to enjoy the advantage of the best possible schooling as they could not afford admission to the more highly organized institution in Darjeeling, Kalimpong and elsewhere. It has been decided, therefore, to build up an institution in Sikkim itself which would stand in comparison with the best institution of its kind outside the country. This institution would not be a substitute for, but in addition to the normal type of High Schools that has been established in other parts of Sikkim. As, however, the standard of teaching would be of a higher level and of a special nature, the institution being designated as an ‘ACADEMY’. In course of time, when we also have been able to establish, in addition to the Academy the usual pattern of High School in Gangtok, the fees for admission to the Academy will be proportionately raised. But the Darbar will ensure that there will be ample scope for meritorious children of poor parents to gain admission to the Academy on the result of Competitive Scholarship Examinations. Apart from the purpose, this academy will fulfill in providing a higher quality of schooling within Sikkim itself, equally important objective will be imparting of a pattern of education particularly suited to special needs of Sikkim. Our patterns of education should, therefore, be so designed that our students will be inspired with love of country. For it is our hope that the knowledge that will be imparted here will be directed, above all, to service, and such service must comprise, above all, service to country.”
The school crest has been designed on the pattern of our traditional Sikkimese Art. It portrays sword that cuts away ignorance, symbolizing knowledge, while the Mountains that form the background are the mountains of our motherland, the sacred peak of Khangchendzonga. And so our Crest too, we have sought to symbolize the Spirit of our Academy, which is the Seeking of Knowledge not for itself, but for service to country and in the spirit of Sikkim’s culture and religious heritage.
It was also decided that TNA would follow the outline approved for the Anglo-Indian Schools. A school uniform had been designed and selection of textbooks were done. The first prospectus was published in 1965 and admissions to various classes of the public school were declared open simultaneously. Posts of teachers were advertised in the leading newspapers and tenders for uniforms were invited from local dealers. In March 1966, Tashi Namgyal Academy was reorganized along Public School lines with English as the medium of instruction and the first language. This idea led to the shifting of Sir Tashi Namgyal Higher Secondary School to the Development Area in Gangtok, along with approximately 14 members of teaching staff and majority of students especially from classes VII and above.
Facilities for all round development of the faculties through large variety of cultural activities were provided. There were hobbies such as painting, woodcraft, leather-work, dance, drama, music, sewing and knitting. The major games played were football, volleyball, hockey, netball and cricket.
Altogether 130 students were on roll (both boys and girls), more than what was expected in the first year (MARCH 1966) and more than what could be managed by the available staff. As days rolled by the staffing problem was solved to some extent. A new matron took over charge of the Hostel leaving Mrs. Langer free to devote herself to teaching work, two more teachers were appointed, one for additional section of K.G. class and the other to teach English to senior classes.
In April, 1969, the Secretary of the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations, New Delhi, Mr. A.E.T. Barrow, visited the school on invitation and stayed for 3 days with the Principal and studied on syllabi and teaching programme, went into the classrooms, playfields and inspected the whole school thoroughly. As a result, the school was recognized by the University of Cambridge Local Examination Syndicate and the first batch of 10 students appeared in the ISC Exam in November, 1971. The result was cent percent with 5 in first division. The Academy by then had joined the Anglo-Indian Schools of Kalimpong, Darjeeling and Kurseong participating in several inter-school meets and friendly matches.
To provide some interesting exercises to the students even on the rainy days, a small indoor gymnasium was also provided in the old staff quarter and soon it became very popular with the students. For the Craft Section, an additional Workshop was fitted where an electrically operated lathe machine was installed.
In the month of March, 1974 the construction of the new girls hostel facing the main school building was completed and was inaugurated by the then Chogyal of Sikkim Mr. P.T. Namgyal in April, 1974.
The construction of SCIENCE BLOCK with a Meteorological Tower, two multi storey building for staff quarters, TINA’S Park (Deer park), installation of School Generator, renovation of auditorium, its stage with electrically operated curtains, re laying of schools garden and Children Park in front of the Junior School were all done in the years 1976 – 1979. During the same tenure Tenacious Tours, new School Song (The TNA Way), School Motto (LEARN TO SERVE), Students council, National Integration Camp of Bharat Scouts and Guides, TNA brass band, National Cadet Corps were also introduced.
“THE TNA BOARD ACT OF 1983” was passed by the Sikkim Legislative Assembly in the year 1983 which converted the school as an autonomous body with the newly constituted Board for Control and Direction of the School. The years 1983-1987 saw the construction of the Swimming Pool, extension of the Main Play Ground, construction of 2 school buildings, Craft room and workshop, office of the Senior Master, a multi-storeyed building for Staff Quarters and construction of New Boy’s Hostel. During the same years the school also became a member of the Indian Public School’s Conference and the school also hosted the 49th Indian Public School’s Conference in October-November 1987. The school was also adopted by the Sports Authority of India which introduced NSTC Scheme in TNA in five disciplines- Football, Badminton, Table Tennis, Athletics and Swimming and experienced coaches for each disciplines were posted in TNA. The School Bus service was also started in order to bring students from distant corners of Gangtok.
The year 1991 was a landmark in the history of T.N.A. because this was the 25th year of its acquisition of a new identity. In line with the then government’s decision, T.N.A had been modelled in the fashion of a public school in 1966. There were many programmes that were held in the school as a part of the Silver Jubilee Celebrations.
In 1993, the construction of the New Junior School Building was completed. The same year also saw the introduction of Compulsory Computer Education from class III to VIII and as an optional subject in classes IX and XII.
In 1997, the Girls Bagpiper Band was started and in 1998, the Auditorium was renovated and construction of the New Annexe Block next to Junior block was started which was formally inaugurated on the 8th of June 2000.
The School pavilion in the main field was named “BHAICHUNG PAVILION” in honour of old school boy Bhaichung Bhutia on the 10th of March, 2008 when the school and the TNA Alumni Association had put up an impressive felicitation for him as he was awarded a Padmashree by the Govt. of India.
A proper Basketball Court with all the modern facilities was inaugurated in the year 2011 just near the Swimming pool. In the same year the Interact Club was also formed which was proposed by a few students of class XII.
In the year 2012, all the classrooms were provided with smart board digital facilities set up by Educomp Solutions Pvt. Ltd. Company. This was done in order to provide students a new learning experience.
The Junior School building was renovated during the year 2014-2015. Railings were put around the corridors so as to ensure the safety of the students. The building was also given a fresh coat of paint. The roof of the Junior Block was also renovated.
The year 2015 saw the school celebrate its Golden Jubilee. It was the year when TNA had completed 50 years in the field of education in Sikkim. The Golden Jubilee was celebrated with full excitement and saw many events take place in the school. The Golden Jubilee celebration started with the Inaugural function on 20th April that included the opening ceremony along with other programmes like the Band competition, Dance Competition, Debate Competition and many more. There were many events that took place throughout the year like the Golden Jubilee Run, The IT Fest, The IPSC Football Tournament, The Inter School Quiz Competition and many more. The Golden Jubilee celebration ended with the staging of the The Annual Play.
Currently, the school has a rectangular-shaped compound, measuring about 12 acres (49,000 m2) bound by the National Highway (NH-10) to Nathula in the southwest and the road leading to Raj Bhavan in the northeast.
Starting from the Upper Main Gate down to the Lower Main Gate there is a football ground, swimming pool, Principal’s bungalow, three multi-storey buildings, single and double unit staff quarters spread all over the school campus, two hostels for boys, one hostel for girls including hostel staff quarters, one kitchen and a hostel dining hall, a large auditorium with a capacity of 600 including a gallery, seven double/three-storey buildings for classrooms, Science Block (previously consisting of laboratories for Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Home Science, now shifted to the new Annexe Block since 2006), Common Rooms, Workshops and an Administrative Block.
There is one greenhouse for cultivation of orchids and rare species of plants and facing it is a children’s park. The school has a library with over 25,000 books. There are three athletic fields, one each for Football, Basketball and well laid out flower beds, sprawling lawns and green slopes spread all over the campus. It is adorned with pine and eucalyptus trees. The month of December sees the whole of campus turning pink with cherry blossoms.
The school is affiliated with the New Delhi, established by the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate, UK, and prepares students for the Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (Class X) and the Indian School Certificate (Class XII) Examinations.
Under the patronage of his highness Chogyal Sir Tashi Namgyal, the pro-active approach of Mr. V.N. Langer, the first Principal of TNA and the tireless efforts of the dedicated Principals and teachers, TNA has emerged as a premier institution in pursuit of knowledge. TNA has tenaciously withstood the test of time and has emerged more glorious than ever surging towards a new horizon.