Muscat: This Teachers’ Day, Indian School Muscat’s Alumni (ISMA) association has taken the pledge to help fund students whose families cannot afford to pay for their education.
The project has been close to the hearts of all the members of the alumni association, and they plan on rolling it out on September 5, celebrated as Teachers’ Day in India and Indian Schools across the world.
“The decision to sponsor the education of a child was almost unanimously agreed upon when we formed the new ISMA core committee,” said Mukund Manohar, President of the ISM Alumni association, speaking exclusively to the Times of Oman. “This has been one of the plans closest to our hearts ever since all of us took office, and we are glad it is finally coming to fruition.”
“We want to begin by sponsoring the education of at least one child across every grade, from class one to class 12,” he added.
“Then, we will take it from there. We didn’t want to promise something that was very big and not have it work out, because we realised that we needed to take this step by step, and it needed to be something that was viable as well. We have a legacy and a responsibility to leave behind for whoever comes after us, and we want to do what is best for the school.”
“Fortunately, all of us are in a situation now where we are quite well-off, and are doing well for ourselves,” said Joint Secretary of the association Aishwarya Hegde.
“I think it is safe to say, and the rest of the team will agree with me on this, that we would not have been here without the help of our teachers and the lessons we learned in school. ISM has been such a big part of our lives so we have a responsibility to give back to the school.”
Secretary of the association Tanu Bheda added, “I think when we had our first meeting, one of the things we agreed upon almost straight away was that we had to do something to help students who had trouble in securing funding for themselves.”
“School has given so much to us and in many ways, made us the people we are today, so we have to think about giving back to ISM,” said Tanu Bheda.
With a majority of Indian School Muscat’s 40,000-plus alumni living outside Oman, a website is currently being set up so that people can donate funds to this cause, wherever they may be. Donors can either choose to make a one-off payment of an amount of their choice, or select a duration for which they would like to pay for a child’s education, be it for a month, three months, six months, or a greater time period.
“We wanted to make it quick and easy for people to contribute,” said Manohar.
“One of the easiest ways to do that is through an online link. The school currently has an online service through which people can pay their school fees, and they are extending this facility to us as well. We’re expecting the approval to go through very soon because we wanted to launch it on Teachers’ Day.”
ISMA also stressed the importance that teachers played in the lives of students, and emphasised the profound impact they had in shaping their futures.
“ISMA would like to wish all our teachers a very Happy Teachers Day,” said Manohar.
“Teachers steer students through each essential stage of development and become one of the most influential people in their lives. The greatest lessons we have learnt are in the classrooms and we owe our successes to our teachers who have guided and mentored us through our academic journey.”
Dr Baby Saamuel, chairman of the Board of Directors of Indian Schools in Oman, praised the ISMA initiative.
“Teachers are the true fabric of our educational system,” he said.
“There is no doubt that they share a strong bond with their students. It is this bond of faith, mentoring and instruction that we wish to strengthen and enhance within the Indian Schools in Oman.
“All the current initiatives of the Indian School Board are child-centric with the ultimate aim of producing children who are competent, confident and empowered. Our resources, especially our teachers, are our richest, most valuable assets.”
“Therefore, there is also an equal, if not more, focus on the development, empowerment and appreciation of teachers, as everything we do for them is for the ultimate betterment of our children,” he added. “On this Teachers’ Day, we thank each one of our teachers for their care, commitment and dedication, offered not as an obligation but as a service and out of love.”
The current core committee consists of Manohar, as well as Bheda, Hegde, Treasurer Nabeel Najeeb, and Executive Committee Members Chethan Mallya, Ahmed Behlim and Dr Matthew Varghese. All seven of them are ISM alumni, and strongly felt the need to give back to the school that has taught them so much.