Shiv Chander Sharma
THE Shri Maharaja Ranbir Singh Multi-Lateral (SRML) Higher Secondary School for boys in Jammu city is famous as Ranbir school and is the oldest educational institution in the state.
First session in this school, situated at present opposite to Parade Ground on the one side and Hari Singh Zanana Park on the other near the Civil Secretariat in the city centre, was held in year 1888-89 AD during the regin of Maharaja Pratap Singh (1885-1925). However, foundation of the huge school was laid by his father Maharaja Ranbir Singh in his life time before 1880 AD.
The opening of this school for boys besides the oldest colleges of the state, GGM Science college in Jammu and Pratap college in Kashmir in ancient times speaks volumes of the broad vision of the Dogra rulers who wanted the spread education among the people.
In the beginning, the Ranbir school had limited number of sunbject combinations prevailing in those times and it started function with high school level education. However, in 1959-69 higher secondary school status was given to this school which, at present has the strength of about three thousand students in various subject combinations in science, arts and commerce streams for boys.
Vice-principal of the school Sat Pal Shastri said that in the year 2005-06 session, the school students claimed 11 positions in Jammu region with medical students topping the merit lists in medical stream. He said that in addition to the normal education, the school also had Industrial Training Institute (ITI) besides Sanskrit Vidyapeeth besides the Jammu Radio Station starting functioning in the state from this school building after the country independent in 1947.
With lush green environment having ample green patches, large central park, independent laboratories, library about 20 feet high big class rooms and three big halls, the school is spread in a large area in the city centre. The University campus also started functioning from this building.
R N Mukerji was the first principal of the school as per records available with the school, Shastri said. He said during the very first session in 1888-89 the school had a strength of between 600 and 700 students. However, the school had remained for boys only and for girls, separate schools were opened.
Present principal of the school is P C Verma and in its long journey of over 115 years, the school has produced brilliant students who have excelled in all spheres of life in their respective times. Since it was the only school of in those times all those getting education were products of this school, said O P Verma, a former students of the school.
Still this school is the first choice of the students who join it in the 9th class and pass out 12th class out to get seats in professional colleges of other colleges. This school has almost always outshined the private schools as far as positions are concerned.