And the winners are…

And the winners are…

"Our children have turned into percentage-generating-machines, and no one but we are to blame", said Sumitra Mahajan in a fiery speech delivered at the prize distribution ceremony of the "Ideal School" competition. The event was held at Sahayog Mandir Hall on Saturday, March 29, 2003. Sumitra Mahajan, the Union Minister of State for IT and Telecommunications presided as the Chief Guest while Dr. Ashok Modak, Member of Legislative Council graced the function as Guest of Honour.

Both the special guests of the evening are achievers in their own fields. And both had some powerful messages for schools, teachers, parents and the society. Modak used Sanskrit slokas to drive home the issue of over-commercialisation of our education system. "What is the state of education in our country?" he reflected. "Lack of funds can be dealt with, but lack of moral values cannot", he emphasised, giving an example of a former vice-chancellor serving a jail term.

Delighting the audience with her oration, Mahajan urged every school to set aside a play-period for students. She spoke about the psychology of students and what an important role parents play in moulding children through their expectations of them. She appreciated the Rotary Club for initiating such a "noble" project and stressed the importance of continuing it year after year. Though she was the last to speak, she left an indelible impression on everyone who listened to her.

The "Ideal School" Competition held earlier this year was a one-of-a-kind contest wherein the quality of the participant school’s facilities was evaluated based on a self assessment procedure. Each participant school was required to answer objectively a set of questions covering relevant aspects of running a school: academics, sports, library, science laboratory, computer facilities, provision for sanitation, career guidance and level of teacher-parent interaction etc.

Dilip Soman, President of the Rotary Club of Thane (Dist 3140), revealed, "Most schools were reluctant to participate initially. We had to literally sway them out of it. Eventually, this reluctance paved way for enthusiasm and excitement as 56 out of approximately 148 schools in the TMC limit finally joined."

The competition, which was open to all secondary schools in Thane, was supported by the TMC, Thane Zilla Parishad and Navneet Publications (India) Ltd, and organised by the Rotary club of Thane. According to the organisers, the primary objective of the competition was to "develop a spirit of competition and achieve progress thereby".

Significant insights into the workings of city schools emerged and these will be discussed in another report.

Meanwhile, all prize-winning schools received a trophy and a certificate and also prize money in some instances. As facilities at municipal schools cannot be compared to those run by the various trusts and private organisations, the schools had been divided into four major categories. Category-wise winners are given below:

Municipal Schools
The results were not very encouraging. There was only one consolation prize was awarded to TMC school no. 3 at Kopri Colony in Thane East.

Marathi and other vernacular medium language private schools
1. Saraswati Secondary School
2. Saraswati Devi Thirani High School. Vartak Nagar
3. Dr. Bedekar Vidyamandir

English medium private schools
1. Holy Cross Convent High School
2. A K Joshi High School
3. Saraswati Education Trusts Secondary School and Junior College

Schools affiliated to ICSE/CBSE
Only two entries were received and they were both awarded Trophies/certificates.
1. Sulochana Devi Singhania High School
2. Lok Puram Public School

Special prizes were also awarded St. Lawrence High School and Bhartiya Sainik School in the "upcoming schools" category. Prior to the prize distribution ceremony, the panel of judges comprising of senior representatives from the field of education, the Zilla Parishad, the TMC and the Rotary Club of Thane, were also felicitated.

Although there were only a handful of schools that walked away with the trophies, in the end all participant schools benefited. As a result of this competition, the school authorities went through a serious process of self-introspection, which is sure to help them gauge their weak spots and work at eliminating them to offer better facilities to their students. So we reckon that the real winners of the competition are the students.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *