It’s good to dream and have a vision, everyone does, but great are the leaders who see and translate these visions into reality. Without an iota of doubt, Ashok Kalra, Honorary Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Indian Community School Kuwait is amongst them who takes a look back on a very noble vision that, after years of toil, has become a dream realized.
“The school was founded more than 50 years ago, in 1959 to be exact, by a group of visionary Indians who planted a sapling that has grown today into an institution called Indian Community School Kuwait. Commonly known among Indians as ICSK, the school boasts of four separate premises, has a teaching and non-teaching staff of over 500, and student strength in excess of 6,500,” said Kalra.
Having faced many hurdles and challenges the ICSK family has pulled through to emerge as one of the best schools in terms of coaching, academic excellence and co-curricular achievements. Being the oldest and largest school in the country for the Indian community, it has, no doubt, a shining reputation that precedes it.
From the very inception the school has been a community venture, enjoying the unstinted moral and financial support of the Indian community in Kuwait. Over the years, the bond between community and school strengthened by the school's responsiveness to the community's ideas in addressing complex educational issues and other challenges.
This year ICSK has topped the CBSE Grade 12 examinations and the story behind its success is well worth sharing. “Success is only possible through a shared, combined effort on the part of students, faculty, parents, community and management. By joining hands, we have been able to sail great heights of achievement, in the last few years, culminating in being the highest scorers in the board exams,” proudly asserted the chairman.
“With the collaboration of the community, the work of the faculty and the guidance and leadership of the Board of Trustees, ICSK is and will shine bright.”
Unfazed by the school's limited resources and ever increasing needs, the Board of Trustees, headed by Kalra, put all its energy to fulfill their responsibilities in the most diligent manner. Committed to absolute transparency in all its dealings, the Board sought to implement whatever was best for the students, the faculty and the community with the available resources
Kalra also praised the performance of the Academic Committee for the year 2012-13 headed by Bobby A. Mathew, including all the honary members consisting of Dr. Narayanan Nampoory, Sayid Mohammed Nasir, Thomas Thomas, Biju. P. Abraham, Nizar K V and Abdul Hakim Siyali.
Visibly happy Kalra explained that all segments have to work together like a well-oiled machine. “Behind the success of our students lay the hard work and commitment of many others.”
“A chairman or vice chairman cannot do everything; neither can a single faculty member. Under the board exists 11 sub-committees, each of which is assigned to particular job area such as maintenance, transport, academics and more. These subcommittees report back to the board with ideas and suggestions which are then reviewed. It is never a one-man show,” he said.
Befitting of its involvement and commitment to the community, ICSK even has a subcommittee that works exclusively with the Endowment Fund — a system set up to accommodate free scholarships, financial support for economically under privileged students, sports scholarships and much more. “For the first time in the history of the school, we have been able to provide scholarships and funding. This is the third year running, and with each year passing, more and more of our students are able to further their academic goals and reach greater heights for brighter futures,” Kalra said . All students are eligible to apply with supporting documents which are then reviewed and decided upon by the executive committee of the Board.
Rajan Daniel, Hon Vice-Chairman, Board of Trustees remarked that Parents of ICSK students have always been a backbone of the school and their supportive suggestions along with the school's proactive responses forms the base of the strong relationship. Parent Advisory Councils (PAC) comprises of elected members from parents of students in all four branches of the school have always been fully involved in the school activities. This driving force, which is put together in a truly democratic fashion, provides input, feedback and recommendations that are highly valued and, wherever possible, put into practice. He further added that “Rome was not built in a day,”
Vijay Karayil, Hon Secretary of the Board of Trustees elaborated “We have 40 PAC members — 10 from each branch of which one is elected to the Board, so as one can see, all our success is clearly a collaborative effort and parents are an important part of the equation,” he said, while adding “PAC acts as a medium that bridges the Board to the parents, and the executive committee will very shortly put a program in place to interact one-on-one with individual parents once every two months.”
Change — one of the most significant signs of growth and progress — recently made its way into the school, with a very successful merger. Bringing students of all senior classes under one roof was a much sought after development that was implemented to facilitate an equal learning environment and the same level of educational facilities and amenities, while at the same time optimizing the school's available resources.
“The merger created an effective learning environment where students can remain motivated while being provided with the same opportunities to compete on an equal footing and to develop their individual talents to the highest level, all under high caliber faculty that aids better preparation for the finals,” Kalra explained. “Despite the high capital expenditure, the merger has been a huge success for the school.”
ICSK spares no expense when it comes to their students. Working on a ‘no-profit no-loss’ policy, the Board of Trustees along with the subcommittees have always kept infrastructural and development plans on the table. The school recently refurbished their computer and science laboratories making them at par with international standards of technology. “Our labs are now among the best equipped in the country. We want our students to feel comfortable working in high-tech laboratories so that they will have an equal footing with their international counterparts should they choose to study abroad,” said Kalra. The school also boasts the first energy saving laboratories as well as smart board equipped classrooms which are being rolled out this year.
With regards to elective stream choices, out of 242 schools that applied to the CBSE for new streams, ICSK is the only one is Kuwait to have received an additional 6 streams which add Humanities, Home Science and Physical Education to the prevailing Science, Math and Commerce streams. Special arrangements are also being made to provide coaching for JEE, AJPMT and AJEEE, including video conferencing with professors from IIT and other prestigious institutions across India.
ICSK focuses all its attention on the all round development of its students, especially in the arena of sport. The school has bagged the CBSE Kuwait Cluster Championship for 11th consecutive year adding color to victory, 23 athletes have taken part in the National Sports Meet.
According to the Chairman, none of these achievements could have been achieved without the input of every member that forms the organization. “During the past years we have been patiently laying the foundation for success that took around nine years of hard work and dedication. But the last 4–5 years has been smooth sailing. Even though it has been a struggle it has paid off now and the building blocks put in place continue to hold ICSK at the top.”