By Poulomi Banerjee
Photo: Father Ktrij Devejian
The unrest at Armenian College and Philanthropic Academy, which was rocked by a students? agitation and expulsion of two boys last week, seems to have its roots in the past.
Sources in the management have blamed the previous head of the institution, Sonia John, for fomenting trouble. She has denied the charge and alleged the institution is not being run properly.
The current management took over from John in 2005 under acrimonious circumstances.
The academy founded in 1821 runs a free school for Armenian children up to Class X and also funds the college education of students from the community.
Father Ktrij Devejian, sent by the Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, His Holiness Karekin II, to look into the problems at the institution, told Metro: ?I first came to the school in January 2005 to assess how it was being run.?
He had found ?the facilities deficient, many students suffering from malaria and other diseases and not receiving proper medical care and the children?s nutrition not being taken care of?.
Students also could not ?answer basic questions? he had asked them. John was then the manager of the school and the chairperson of the church.
Father Devejian returned in November 2005 with ?clear instructions to remove John?. ?She was given an opportunity to resign? but she refused to and so we had no choice but to fire her. She also lost the election to the church committee.?
Father Devejian, who visits the school once a year, said he was happy with the progress of the institution.
?The menu was changed after John was removed and we ensured that the children eat only on the campus. As a result, their health improved. If anyone is ill, they get the best medical facility. The curriculum has improved and good staff brought in. Now when I walk into a class and ask questions, the answers are much more satisfactory,? he said.
John said: ?The allegations are a pack of lies. They just wanted to take charge. There were 146 children under my care. Now there are only 80. Obviously, parents do not want to send their children to this school anymore.?
Source: The Telegraph, Kolkata, 09 August 2010