DUBAI // Pupils of Indian High School (IHS) were urged in a ceremony to mark its golden anniversary yesterday to give back to their community after the example of the institution's founders.
More than 1,000 children, parents, teachers and administrators from the school that caters to the children of Indian expatriates gathered in the Sheikh Rashid Auditorium to celebrate the institution's 50th birthday.
Speakers included Mohan Valrani, the IHS chairman, and Sanjay Verma, the Indian consul general to Dubai, who extolled the virtues of community awareness.
The school has been recognised by the Indian government as the world's best Indian-curriculum facility, and the IHS has also been active in charity work, raising funds for local causes such as Dubai Cares and the Rashid Paediatric Centre.
"The founding fathers of IHS were and are very successful people, yet they had a strong sense of doing the right thing and giving back," Mr Verma said. "The IHS is the glue which holds the Indian community together in Dubai. That is why celebrating 50 years is such a wonderful achievement.
"I want to tell the young people sitting here today that no matter where you end up in life after you finish your final year here, whether that is abroad or in Dubai, never forget the impact the IHS has had on your development. I'm sure many of you will go on to become hugely successful in life, but never forget the sense of giving back to the community or the less fortunate."
During the anniversary ceremony, the school's trustees and governing committee were given awards and certificates for the work they had done in the past half a century. A cheque for Dh50,000 was presented to the paediatric centre and the keys to three computer-equipped classrooms, two of which were funded by Mr Valrani, were handed over to the Zabeel girls' school in Dubai.
The festivities included a specially made cake, and guests were treated to the dance drama Antaryatra - Discovery of the Self, performed as a ballet by some of the school's pupils.
It was also announced that the school's website had been redesigned as part of the celebrations. Officials said the traditions being observed had done the school proud.
"Through the hard work and vision of the school's founding fathers, the Indian community in Dubai has been served amazingly well over the last 50 years," said Dr Abdulla al Karam, the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) director general. "I am always lost for words for how I can describe the work done at IHS, because it is so amazing."
The school's work on developing an international curriculum was also praised by Dr al Karam, who described it as an example to schools and education establishments around the world.
"It's not just in education where the Indian High School has led the way," he said. "Because of the school's efforts to raise money for good causes, now hundreds of thousands of children in Africa are getting an education and being fed. This sense of giving back to people less fortunate is one of the most inspiring aspects of the Indian High School's legacy."
The school has become so successful that its board will build a state-of-the-art complex at Dubai Silicon Oasis, which will have a capacity of 3,000 pupils, bringing total enrolment to 13,000. Mr Valrani said the new facility would cost Dh100 million and include a library, science laboratories, indoor sports complex and a business school.
Mr Valrani said the anniversary was based on the work of thousands of people who had sought a common goal.
"To be recognised as the best Indian curriculum school by the Indian government is a truly amazing achievement and that has only been possible due to the hard work and dedication of the administrators, teachers, staff and students," he said. "The KHDA have worked with us through some challenging times and their support cannot be overstated. This is obviously a big moment for the IHS family.
"I offer my congratulations to all of our alumni, parents, staff and students on this day and am confident that the management of the school that has worked so hard to bring the school this far will take it to many higher levels in the years to come."