Rajshahi College has glorified the spirit of education in Bangladesh. It has been playing historic role in spreading education, creating enthusiasm about literature, culture, sports and progressive thoughts among the people in this region of the world for over 185 years. There is no denial of the fact that Rajshahi College is one of the oldest and most leading academic institutions in this part of the word. This institution started its historic beginning in 1828 in the form of an English school, named Bauliya English School, during the regime of British, established by the English officers serving in Rajshahi in close cooperation with the local elites of Rajshahi.
Gradually, by untiring efforts of Rajshahi Association and some great philanthropists of the locality, the process started to change the name and status of Bauliya English School. Accordingly, it was renamed or came to be known as Rajshahi Collegiate School in 1836 and then it was promoted to the status of a second class college in the name of Rajshahi College in 1873 through the introduction of FA course with six students, including one Muslim student and finally Rajshahi College was upgraded to the status of a first class college through the introduction of BA course in 1878 under the University of Calcutta.
Obviously, Rajshahi College stands apart from other academic institutions in different ways of its struggle and contributions to education and nation-building activities in Bangladesh. As a first class institution, Rajshahi College got permission to open Master’s programme in 1878, BL course in 1883 and Honours course in the academic session 1884-85. The College duly started all these programmes. But, in 1900 the affiliation of Master’s and BL courses were cancelled under the new Act of the University. The college, however, had been able to win over all these odd situations and uncertainties and ultimately has reached its today’s position of excellence and national and international reputations.
In 1878, the first class college was started with 100 students. In the next year it rose to 200. This situation quickly changed towards a silent revolution. In 1910 the number of students increased to 400 and in 1924 the number reached 1000. Currently, the number of students rises to 26,000 and there are 248 highly qualified teachers to teach the students, studying Degree Pass, Honours and Master’s level courses under 24 departments of the college, including HSC level. Alongside the faculty of the college, there are 111 other technical and general staff, including officers, to assist the students and teachers in academic, research, lab, extracurricular and other activities.
Rajshahi College has made its establishment successful in real sense. It has achieved a high name and fame at home and abroad since its beginning for high quality education and excellent academic results. Its roles in our great language movement and in our great liberation war are glorious. Its roles in enhancing our culture, literature and sports are laudable. Its roles in inspiring our people and our society towards knowledge and science are remarkable. Its roles behind the establishment of Rajshahi University and Rajshahi Medical College & Hospital are well-recognized. Its roles in holding the cultural heritage of Bangladesh are significant as its historic buildings remain existent and by taking proper step these architectural structures can be utilized to attract huge tourists from home and abroad.
Many world famous educationists, like Dr. W. A. Jenkins who became the 7th Vice-Chancellor of the University of Dhaka and Dr. I. H. Juberi who became the 1st Vice-Chancellor of the University of Rajshahi, were the Principals of Rajshahi College. The names and fames and inspirations of these great educationists illuminated our society and our land across the world. Since its inception, the college has produced many eminent scholars, political leaders, educationists, philanthropists, sculptors and litterateurs who are heightening the dignity of our nation at home and abroad.
So, there is no hesitation to say that to be a teacher or to be a student in Rajshahi College is a matter of great dignity. Those who once taught and those are now teaching at Rajshahi College, all are known to be eminent teachers in the society. Those who once studied and those who are now studying at Rajshahi College, all are known to be brilliant students in the society. Rajshahi College has made the pioneering role of education in Bangladesh. Its contribution in different ways to the nation is unparallel.
But, Rajshahi College is losing its hard-earned glory day-by-day, mainly because of political violence created by some students belonging to party politics, over trifling matters or their selfish motives. People of Bangladesh never want to see this historic college in any violent situation. Rajshahi College is our pride and the maker of history of our education in Bangladesh. We all want to see it always in peaceful academic environment and in its glorious position.
So, we all expect that Rajshahi College must play a leading role in meeting the educational demand of this modern age. In this context, the college, of course, needs to improve its overall academic and other relevant facilities and solve the different problems and shortages of the institution. Realizing this, Principal Professor Dr. Ali Reza Muhammad Abdul Mazid and Vice-Principal Professor Md. Habibur Rahman along with the faculty of Rajshahi College are working tirelessly to keep the tradition of the college effective. Accordingly, the college authorities have implemented a number of development activities in different aspects, including physical infrastructures and also made remarkable achievements in academic results and digital services, aiming to fulfil the dream of Prime Minister for making digital Bangladesh.
Being inspired with the initiatives of the Rajshahi College authorities, The Guardian aims to reflect the different issues of challenges and developments of the historic Rajshahi College and contains the valuable interviews of the principal, vice-principal and articles of the heads of departments and others. All these valuable interviews and articles focus not only on the problems, potentials, contributions, achievements and future plans but also reveal many untold stories of Rajshahi College. We hope that this issue will draw the proper attention of our policy makers and our valued readers at home and abroad will also find a different interest in this issue.
In the end, we urge the policy makers, political parties, teachers, students and all others to give their cordial support and attention to the development and tradition of Rajshahi College, so that the college authorities can be able to forge its glorious tradition ahead.