Keys to the boardroom of Indian Community School Kuwait (ICSK) have been returned by the sponsor, providing a temporary relief to the honorary board members who were locked out last week, after differences arose between the sponsor and the board over allegations of financial mismanagement and conduct.
The Indian Community School Kuwait is a school founded in 1959 and is supposed to be run by the community for the community. However over the past several years there have been allegations from various sections of the community on the running of the school, including charges of financial misdemeanors, lack of transparency, constitutional violations, arbitrary inductions into the board and misconduct by board members.
While keys to the boardroom have been returned, the larger problems plaguing the school continue to exist. Written complaints, made to the Indian Embassy and the government of India, have not faded and the sponsor’s moves are apparently a culmination of such complaints over the years.
The school board has millions of dinars in its coffers and the lack of transparency in its functioning is a source of tremendous concern to the community. During the past 25 years since liberation of Kuwait there have been two big scandals involving financial misappropriation and several thousand dinars have vanished due to lack of proper supervision by the community or government of India.
The school has about 7,000 students in its rolls and is the largest Indian education institution in the country. Board members, who are elected to two-year terms, and on an honorary basis, are often seen to cling on to positions despite the end of their tenure. This reluctance to relinquish their seats raises suspicions among the community about their true motives.
Despite these frequent distractions, the students and teachers have continued to perform well in academics and co-curricular activities, making ICSK a preferred choice among Indians when it comes to education. The board claiming credit for accomplishments by students and teachers is only an attempt by these ‘honorable’ men to whitewash their shortcomings. To put the record straight, students from ICSK have been excelling during the past 50 years, including during the time when the previous board was dismissed for financial wrongdoings.
Speaking to The Times Kuwait, several members of Indian associations have said that the school is a public institution of the Indian community and complaints against the board have been increasing, so it is no surprise that the sponsor reacted to complaints by instituting an investigative committee into the financials.
The board members however claim that the dispute is actually over the ownership of a piece of land given by the Kuwait government to build a school. As differences continue between the sponsor and the board, community members are hoping that wisdom will prevail and an amicable solution will be found soon.