Events

  1. Duke Of Gloucester Students High Adventure

  2. High Adventure's Lesson For School & Students

  3. Government Indian High School - Not Boys School Only

  4. Story Behind The Website For Gihs, Duke & Jamhuri

Government Indian High School - Not Boys School Only

The First Girl Student
The truth behind Government Indian High School being boys school only.

My mother Shanta Koppiker came to join her father in Nairobi when she was in her early teens. She had lived in India with her relatives after her mother died when she was only two years old. She went to a convent school for girls where her best friends were the Rebeira girls from a Goan family. She had vivid memories of the British family who lived next door-something all too rare in those days. This was only possible because her father was an accountant in the East African Railways and Harbours.

My mother was the first Asian girl in Kenya to go to the Government Indian Secondary School, later to be named Duke of Gloucester School in Nairobi- a boys’ secondary school. She attended the school in the late 1920s. In order to do so, she had to obtain a special permission from the Minister of Education. This was given on the condition that she entered class with the teacher and left with him when the lesson ended and returned with the next teacher! The recess was spent in the school staff room! Dwarka Nath Khanna and other boys in the class were very respectful-if her pencil or rubber fell on the floor, the boys picked them up and gave them to the teacher! She passed her London Matriculation Exam with flying colours. Her subjects included Physics, Chemistry, Geography, History and a second language. Miss Koppiker had started a trend.

My parents met in Kampala when my mother came there to take up her post as Headmistress at the Aga Khan High School. Subsequently she went for her university studies to St.Xavier’s College in Bombay. A few years later, my mother married Khanderao Korde, a lawyer. She continued teaching through the years in different schools in Uganda. She had to interrupt her career periodically with the birth of her children. She was still teaching when they were expelled from Uganda by Idi Amin in 1972. She subsequently lived in Toronto where her two sons Anil and Suneel had settled with their families. In between she lived in Vancouver for five years when Anil moved there. She passed away in 1997 after leading a very full and active social life which included organizing bridge tournaments and lessons.

Neela Korde Ghai
September 2008