For long Meghalaya has been known as the ‘Abode of Clouds’. It is known as the place where the clouds kiss the lands, where winding roads lead to greener pastures and where culture and tradition walk hand-in-hand with modernity. Meghalaya’s capital Shillong has a rich history behind it. It was the administrative capital of undivided Assam during the British rule and attracted Englishmen, Bengali babus, Marwari businessmen, Gorkha soldiers etc. This cosmopolitan culture let to dozens of Britishers as well as Indian clerks settling in the beautiful plate of Shillong.
To meet the administrative demands of the Raj, Shillong had the privilege of having some of the best educational institutes in North East India at that point of time. Over the last century, Shillong has contributed largely to the education of the region and has attracted thousands of students from all the north-eastern states. The cause of education was spearheaded by the missionaries, the British government and far-thinking Indian intellectuals. Incidentally, the first college was set-up in Cherrapunji by the Welsh missionaries and was called Cherra Theological College (CTC). It is one of the oldest theological colleges in India.
There have been many schools and colleges that have played a very important role in making Shillong an educational hub. The rich heritage of these educational institutions continues to light many homes. Let’s take a look at these luminous schools and colleges that are the pride of the ‘Scotland of the East’.
Luminous Schools in Shillong
Pine Mount School
Pine Mount School is among the first luminous schools of the region. It was founded in 1900 to cater to the needs of children of European descent. As a residential girls school, it spearheaded the cause of education. The first headmistress of the school was Miss Miles. After independence, the administration of the school was handed over to the state government and it was converted into a residential and day-boarding school. The school is affiliated to Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE) Examination and the Indian School Certificate (ISC) Examination. Notable alumni include M. K. Binodini Devi and Mamoni Raisom Goswami.
St. Edmunds’ School
The all-boys’ school located on the Laitmukhrah hills was established by the Congregation of Christian Brothers (India province) in 1916. The school is affiliated to the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations, (ICSE). The school is particularly known for its beautiful location. Perched up on a hill, it has several playgrounds apart from the classrooms. Notable alumni of the school include the famous actor Victor Banerjee and James Michael Lyngdoh, former Chief Election Commissioner of India.
Loreto Convent School was founded on 1909 with just 23 day boarders and 3 boarders. The school then attracted European, Anglo-Indian and Khasi communities. Today it is one of the most sought-after girl’s schools in Shillong. Mother Mechtilde Costelloe was the first Superior of Loreto Convent and School. The school is affiliated to the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations, (ICSE). It shares its premises with the Cathedral of Mary Help of Christians.
Govt. Girls H.S. School, Jail Road
It is probably one of the first schools in the city. Founded in the year 1886, the Jail Road Girls Higher Secondary School initially catered to the children of the Bengali clerks who were brought to the place by the British.
Luminous Colleges In Shilling
St. Edmunds’ College
St. Edmunds’ College was established in the year 1924 and is the oldest college in Meghalaya. It is also the second oldest college in North East India after Cotton College, Guwahati which was established in 1901. Bro. J.E. McCann was the first principal of the college (as well as of the school). The college currently offers under-graduate courses in Humanities, Science, Commerce and Social Work.
Lady Keane College
Lady Keane College is a pioneering women’s college in the city. It holds the distinction of being the first women’s college in the entire North Eastern region. Established in the year 1935, Lady Keane has largely contributed not only to women’s education but also socio-economic transformation of the region. The establishment of the college was a result of the far-sightedness of prominent citizens who felt the need to start an intermediate college for girls. Today the college offers 20 under-graduate courses and various career-oriented courses.
St. Anthony’s College
St. Anthony’s College was founded in the year 1934 by the Salesians of Don Bosco. The college made its beginning from a makeshift wooden structure near Don Bosco Square. After 81 years, St. Anthony’s College is one of the most respected colleges not only in the state but also the region. It is a pioneering educational institution which introduced several professional courses such as under-graduate courses in Mass Media, Biotechnology, Biochemistry, Music, Computer Application and Business Administration. The college also runs two post-graduate courses in Computer Application and Biotechnology.
St. Mary’s College
St. Mary’s College was founded by the Sisters of Our Lady of the Missions or RNDM (Religieux Notre Dame des Missions) in 1937. It is regarded as one of the pioneers in women’s education and is also one of the oldest catholic colleges in the region. Mother Mary St. Rudolphe was the first principal of the college. Currently the institution offers under-graduate courses in Humanities and Science. The college also offers Bachelor of Teacher Training (BT) and Licentiate of Teacher Training (LT).