On Thursday morning Nirmal Patra faced the worst dilemma in his 25-year-old teaching career — whether to search for two of his students who were washed away by Cyclone Aila on Monday or try to procure marksheets of the 101 students who had appeared for the Madhyamik (Class X) examination this year.
Patra is the headmaster of Mongol Chandra High School, the largest in Chotomollahkhali — the first human settlement to fall in Aila’s path.
“I have been told two of my students of class VI and VII have been washed away. Tell me what should be my priority, look for them or try to get the marksheets?” said Patra.
The morning gloom eased out a little when Patra learnt all his students had passed. “Twenty two have got A grade,” he said.
Patra, whose school houses more than 200 displaced families and who himself is marooned, said: “We collected the marksheets from Sonarpur on Thursday but they will reach on Friday. The roads have been washed away and the ferry service operates only during the day.”
He said a total of 151 students had appeared from three other schools in the area.
But now the results don’t matter anymore.
The two other schools, too, are full of homeless people so distribution of marksheets isn’t the priority now.
Mongol Chandra is the only higher secondary school in the region and 140 of its students have appeared for the higher secondary exam.