Sunday, July 29, 2012

Mumbai’s ‘oldest’ school to shift to new-age International Baccalaureate

MUMBAI: It's a fact that the only thing constant in society is change. And keeping this in mind, possibly the oldest school of Mumbai has decided to change its affiliation to International Baccalaureate (IB). Robert Money Technical High School in Grant Road completed 176 years of imparting education in the city and is currently busy renovating its century-old structure. Their IB section will start from the next academic year.

"We still have close to 330 students from the SSC section who will finish their schooling the same board but, simultaneously , we will start the new IB batch in our renovated building," said Rev Sharad Balid, administrator of the school. As of now, the Marathi medium and junior college sections have been receiving grants from the government while the rest is run by the Bombay Diocesan Society BCS). The IB school is a joint effort of BCS and Chanakya Gyan Kendra, and will be open students from 2013.

The trend of changing affiliations from state board to other central and internation-boards has been a part of the educational system for ages now. Christ Church School in Byculla has weathered the ups and downs of academia for more than a century . "Old schools are awakened by the challenges put forth by newer schools. We have an advantage because of our history but we cannot rest on our laurels," said principal Carl Laurie. After changing their affiliation to ICSE in the 1970s, the school also introduced the CIPP program (an evaluation model) a year ago. Similarly, the school may be looking to launch the IGCSE program in the near future. Since we didn't want to be a has-been school, we realized that we had to make certain changes that would help us adapt to this rapidly changing environment," added Laurie.

The Cathedral and John Connon School is considered one of the city's premier institutions for junior education. The key is to embrace the new without throwing out the old," said principal Meera Isaacs. Cathedral has never had any trouble keeping up with changing times. In fact, the school was the first in the city to establish a Learning Resource Center. To celebrate its 150th anniversary, Cathedral released a special commemorative stamp in 2010.

Tradition has proven to be equally important to St Mary's High School in Mazgaon to the extent that it has maintained its uniform for more than a century. "Tradition implies that there is something good in . There is a sentimental value attached to the boys' uniforms. No one has ever tried to change this tradition," said principal Fr Kenneth Misquitta.

The Alexandra Girls English Institution in Fort is one of the oldest girls schools in the city and is ready to celebrate 150 years of existence. The school is preparing for an enormous celebration, which includes the release of a special postal cover, an interschool fest, ex-students' reunion and a grand show in April where the school souvenir will be released. However, it has no intention of changing affiliation any time soon. "The state board syllabus has evolved over the years and is at par with other boards, so we will continue our loyalty to the board. We'd rather focus on co-curricular activities to encourage children in all aspects of life," said principal Freny Mehta. The school will start its 150 years celebration from September 1.