Indian School Bahrain to mark 60th anniversary
Manama, June 19, 2011
The Indian School in Bahrain will hold large-scale celebrations as one of the oldest expatriate schools in the Gulf reaches its 60th year of operation in the Kingdom.
It will hold a Diamond Jubilee Fair and Indian food festival next weekend, which have been organised as a major fundraiser to build a new school facility.
The food festival will feature dishes from Kashmir in India's north to Kanyakumari in the south.
The fair will include a variety of stalls selling Indian and Bahraini products such as plants and flowers, handicrafts, home-made food, books and henna and face painting.
It has an educational theme with stalls hosted by companies across Bahrain advertising their work and career opportunities.
Established in 1950 by headmistress Vasanti Rao and three teachers Geetha Bhatia, Nirmala Bhatia and Indira Khiiara, the school was originally based in Manama and started with 35 students.
Indian expatriates wanted a place for their children to study under an Indian educational system while living abroad.
Sixty years later, 8,659 students pass through the school's two campuses in Isa Town and Sitra every day and the teaching staff numbers 450.
The school prides itself on its community spirit, which is entrenched in every aspect, from pupils, parents, governors and the school buildings, according to honorary chairman Abraham John.
'The school was originally established by the community in 1950 and it is unique in the fact that through elected bodies, parents are directly involved in managing the school,' he said.
'The money used to build the new Diamond Jubilee building was raised purely by the community and not a single fil was spent from the school's funds.'
The school reaches out to 40,000 people in Bahrain, including present and former pupils and parents, making it the tightest network in the country and as a result many teachers have stayed at the school for years, said John.
One of these is Edna Sequra, who teaches English and social sciences and has been at the school since 1967.
'Many of the teachers use the Indian School as a stopping place in their career. Once you join, you don't want to ever leave,' she said.
'The atmosphere is homely and teachers and supervisors are all excellent, so no one wants to go once they come here.'
Acting principal V R Palaniswamy echoed Sequra's views that the school's main strength was in the teaching faculty.
'The quality of education comes down to the best teachers and the strong social commitment of the community,' he said.
The almost-completed Diamond Jubilee building will be fully up and running at the start of the next academic year at a cost of BD400,000 ($1.06 million).
It contains 28 spacious classrooms, staff rooms, rooms designed for extra-curricular activities such as band practice, prayer rooms, moral science rooms, and a first-aid room.
The school's management team has great hopes for turning the roof space, normally used to accommodate air-conditioning units, into a large covered auditorium. However, they need around BD150,000 for the dream plan to materialise, said John.
While originally established for children of Indian origin, the school opened its doors to other nationalities in 1978 when it moved from Manama to its senior school location in Isa Town.
Its student population is made up of 14 nationalities, majority of whom are of Indian descent. More than 800 students are Bahraini and others include Lebanese, Bengali, Pakistani, Egyptian and Sri Lankan.
Bahraini students make up a large percentage of high achievers at the school and the highest marks in geography and social sciences this year were scored by Bahraini pupils.
The festival, which will be held from 5.30pm to 10.30pm next Thursday and Friday, is open to the public and is being held at the school's Isa Town campus. – TradeArabia News Service
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