Saturday, July 28, 2012

Mumbai’s oldest girls school turns 150

Published: Monday, Apr 16, 2012, 8:26 IST
By Puja Pednekar | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

At a time when most schools are opting for non-state boards and turning towards co-education, one of the city’s oldest girls state board school will enter into the 150th year of its inception in September 2012. The Alexandra Girls English Institution, Fort, is all set to celebrate its sesquicentennial year through a series of programmes so that the next generation of students can remember them.

Founded by social reformer, Manockjee Cursetjee in 1836, it is one of the first educational institutions started in the city to raise the social status of women. Interestingly, around 1863, Cursetjee started teaching 13 girls in the English medium at his residence ‘Villa Byculla’. Later, the school, then called ‘Alexandra Native Girls’ English Institution’, shifted to Waudby Road, now called Hazarimal Somani Marg. The school had on its board of directors, stalwarts of Indian society such as Sir Phirozeshah Mehta and alumni such as Madame Bhikaijee Cama.
The school also has one of oldest Parent Teachers Association (PTA) in the city. While many schools are drawing flak for not having a PTA, this school’s PTA has completed 56 years. The Ex-student’s Association is on the verge of celebrating its Platinum Jubilee. Principal Freny Mehta, said, “In 150 years, the school has achieved many milestones and the legacy continues. Alexandra’s 150 is a celebration of the continuing tradition of teaching young girls how to be critical thinkers and compassionate individuals. We have achieved a lot but there are still many miles to go.’’
On the occasion of its 150 years, the school management will introduce ‘Smart Class Technology’ for all the classes from I to X, apart from organising a series of events involving city schools. “To share our school’s values and culture, we will invite the participation of schools across the city in competitions ranging from academics to creative fields,’’ she added.
As per the founder’s wish, even today, value-education is provided with the object of developing the overall personality its students.
The school also allows its premises to be used by NGOs working for the under-privileged. “We collect goods and cash every year for the Junior Red Cross and the Army to inculcate the habit of giving and sharing among our students," Mehta said.