Subscribe to our weekly newsletter

@

ABTA completes 100 years

4 January, 2021 15:29:10
ABTA completes 100 years

Board Examination dates announced! Students rush to get hold of those fat ABTA question banks. Night oils burnt over those black and white pages having thousands of probable questions that might sail you through your board examination.

Well, this is a picture that has been doing the rounds, for decades every January onwards and that fat ABTA book comes to the rescue. The annual Test Paper compilation published by All Bengal Teachers’ Association (ABTA) was the only official study material available to students throughout Bengal for almost a century now. The brick-sized Test Paper has a vast collection of question papers in all the subjects set in schools across West Bengal.

Interestingly, ABTA is not any publication house. It is a conglomerate of teachers of West Bengal and the first such association of teachers in Asia. It was set up in 1921, at a time when the country was a British colony and our countrymen were involved in the freedom movement. On one hand, Mahatma Gandhi was involved in non-cooperation movement and on the other, armed struggle against the British was gaining ground following the Jallianwallah Bagh massacre. Amid this turmoil, the British formed the Government of India Act, 1919 also known as Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms which came into force in 1921. It was instituted in the British Indian polity to introduce the Diarchy, i.e., rule of two which means the Act made a provision for classification of the central and provincial subjects. 

ABTA’s arduous journey has enriched the sphere of education and continues to do so. Stalwart teachers like Satyapriya Roy and Anila Devi have been part of the association and contributed to its 100-year-old legacy. Renowned personalities from the cultural sphere including Manik Bandopadhyay, Khaled Chowdhury and Hemanga Biswas have always been committed to this organization.

The education system was affected most adversely by this new Act. For a long time prior to the Government of India Act, 1919 came into effect, teachers in Bengal had been contemplating the need for voicing their views on political affairs of the country. Now the opportunity presented itself and on February 6, 1921, Nikhil Banga Shikshak Samity (All Bengal Teachers Association) was established with 22 Principals/ Head Masters of Indian schools. Ishanchandra Ghosh was the first president of the organization and Manoranjan Sengupta was its first secretary. 

The organization’s first conference was held in the same year at Gaibandha Islamia High School in Rangpur (now in Bangladesh) and was attended by more than 100 teachers. The seminar was presided by none other than Acharya Prafulla Chandra Roy. In his opening address, Acharya Roy had emphasized on the right to education and approbation of teachers. Being a professional concern like other organizations, it was only natural for ABTA members to highlight the problems they face in their profession or demand for their rights like job security and decent salary raise etc. but instead they came forward to fight for and establish their responsibilities to the society. By 1925, ABTA began sowing the seeds of idealism among teachers and work on drafting a better education policy began in right earnest. After Independence, the West Bengal Board of Secondary Education (WBBSE) was formed. In 1938, the British Government mandated that the representation in the education board would be based on religion. The association strongly protested against this decision.

Interestingly, ABTA is not any publication house. It is a conglomerate of teachers of West Bengal and the first such association of teachers in Asia. It was set up in 1921, at a time when the country was a British colony and our countrymen were involved in the freedom movement.

No major changes were brought about in the field of education even after Independence but some alterations were made in ABTA’s nature and field of work. In the annual convention held in Siliguri in 1952, the organization was given a more structured shape under the aegis of the president of the organization, scientist Satyendranath Bose. 

ABTA’s arduous journey has enriched the sphere of education and continues to do so. Stalwart teachers like Satyapriya Roy and Anila Devi have been part of the association and contributed to its 100-year-old legacy. Renowned personalities from the cultural sphere including Manik Bandopadhyay, Khaled Chowdhury and Hemanga Biswas have always been committed to this organization. Changes have swept every sphere of life and ABTA too, has moved with the times and undergone transformation. Its registered office changed address thrice.  However, the organization has stuck to its pivotal commitment to uplift the education system. With this aim, ABTA initiated the annual cultural competition for school children from the 1990s.  More than 10 lakh children from different schools in the state participate in this annual event. The association also organizes annual camps to help students prepare for the board examinations.  

Story Tag:
  • All Bengal Teachers’ Association

Leave a Comments

Related Post

×