St Patrick’s Asansol – The School
St. Patrick’s School, Asansol is one of India’s oldest schools. Founded in 1891 by the Irish order, the Congregation of Christian Brothers, St. Patricks is the most prominent school of
Asansol, West Bengal’s second largest city after Kolkata, and the 42nd fastest growing city in the world.
SPS has a long and storied history. It started as a fully residential, all-boys school for Europeans and Anglo-Indian students in the late nineteenth century and gradually
transformed into a school that started admitting Indians and now is exclusively for day scholars.
The diversity of SPS’ alumni body reflects a multicultural past which the rest of India is still only discovering in a post-gobalisation era. The percentage of international alumni in
SPS’s alumni body is probably higher than that of most schools of India given the waves of emigration of its Anglo-Indian and Chinese-Indian alumni to Australia, UK and Canada, in
additional to the NRI alumni in the US, Europe, Mideast and Southeast Asia.
St. Patrick's was founded in 1891, by the Congregation of Christian Brothers, a Catholic society from Ireland that has undertaken missionary and educational work worldwide. This group, also informally known as the Christian Brothers, was founded by Edmund Rice. St. Patrick's School, Asansol is one of around 20 Christian Brothers Schools in India.
With three sections for each class/grade from KG-10 and two sections for 11-12, there are about 1,700 students enrolled in the school. The school follows the 10+2 Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations curriculum which includes the national ICSE exam at the end of Class 10, and the ISC Science exam at the end of Class 12. The school enjoys considerable recognition for academic excellence, having produced many state and national rankers.
St. Patrick's was originally a fully residential school. It started admitting day scholars later, and finally closed the hostel completely in 1984. The school has enrolled girls in Classes 11 and 12 since 2009. The Jubilee Hospital Building on the grounds was built in 1918. It is no longer a functioning hospital, having closed at the same time that hostel was closed. It is currently used as a residence for the Principal and some staff members.
The school was once one of the largest landowners in Asansol, with buildings, fields and virgin wooded areas, some of which has now become prime real estate or other schools. The adjacent area has become a residential colony known as Hill View.
The school has been privy to much of the history of Asansol, and there was a time when the Union Jack fluttered on campus (remembered by some senior, pre-Independence alumni). The school was taken over by the military during World War II, during which time the students were temporarily shifted to St. Michael’s Kurji. Several prominent Christian Brothers have served as Principals of SPS, including Br. Philip Pinto, the current Congregation Leader of all Christian Brothers worldwide.
- Stephen Hector Taylor-Smith '11 (the originator of rocket mail in India, and memorialised on a postage stamp)
- Himachal Som '61 (former Indian Ambassador to Italy)
- Harish Chander Sharma '75 (Recipient of the Police Medal for Meritorious Service, awarded by the President of India)
- Kaushik Chatterjee '84 (Group CFO of Tata Steel, called "one of India's best CFOs" by Business Today)
- Chander Govindaswamy '53 (Retired Major General of the Indian Army)
- Malay Mukherjee '63 (CEO of Essar Steel, former COO of Mittal Steel and board member of ArcelorMittal)
- Sudhansu Chakravarty ’42 (Retired Brigadier of the Indian Army, debated Mahatma Gandhi)