~ International Dimension~

During the recent 2018 Round Square (RS) Discovery Framework Workshop (RSDF) in Jordan, organized by Round Square and Amman Baccalaureate School, Jordan, 27th – 28th April, 2018, delegates from 6 countries had given their inputs into the development of a “further reading and structuring and resource breaking down of the 12 Discoveries mapped to each of the six RS IDEALS – (Internationalism, Democracy, Environmentalism, Adventure, Leadership and Service. The participating team from Maria’s Public School (MPS), Guwahati, Assam, India, comprised of Mrs. Nellie Ahmed Tanweer, Honourable Founder & Managing Trustee, MPS and Mr.Biswajit De, Creative Director & RS School Representative. MPS had the first exposure to the RSDF, being a RS Candidate School. The Discovery framework connects the spirit of the RS IDEALS with twelve Discoveries that students make on their learning journey (inquisitiveness, tenacity, courage, compassion, inventiveness, ability to solve problems, self-awareness, sense of responsibility, appreciation for diversity, commitment to sustainability, communication and team-working skills). The framework is designed to support the integration of these Discoveries into curriculum programming, and signpost to ways in which they can be given tangible value in an academic context…It’s essentially a friendly ‘Trojan Horse’.

"Using the Round Square Discovery Framework, a growing number of schools are finding new ways to embed character education into the curriculum, focusing on values rather than activities; the 'being' rather than the 'doing' ", said Round Square Chairman, Mr. Rod Fraser, who attended the Workshop and addressed the participants during interactive sessions. Present at the workshop was RS CEO, Ms Rachel Westgarth who explained the Discovery Framework Roadmap to the participants. She added to what Mr. Fraser had expressed, by saying - "A simple example would be service learning. Traditionally cast as an extra-curricular activity, a school's community service programme might include volunteering, civic engagement, charity fundraising, perhaps an overseas service project. All are valuable learning experiences, but once you draw out the spirit of those activities, and look for inventiveness, empathy, compassion, the ability to solve problems, appreciation for diversity... it's easier than to see how you might build the development of those qualities into your curriculum programming." Co-Host of the Workshop, The Amman Baccalaureate School in Jordan is piloting the new Discovery Framework Strategies and will be the first school world-wide to host a synchronized visit with the IB for this protocol. As shared by the representatives of the school, work has already begun to integrate the RS Discovery Framework fully into all that ABS does at the school and, in particular, map it against their "Al Tarbiyeh" acronym, which represents their Guiding Statements for the Discovery Framework, the IB Learner Profile and the requirements of the new protocol.

Mrs. Nellie Ahmed Tanweer with the International Delegates in Jordan.

Round Square Representatives and officials from 6 countries participated in the 2018 Round Square (RS) Discovery Framework Workshop in Jordan. It was indeed an enterprising and a great learning experience for the MPS team to meet and interact with the delegates from countries like India, Pakistan, Oman, Australia, Vietnam and Turkey. Each participant from the RS Schools was given an opportunity to present their ideas for the Discovery Framework, keeping in mind the scopes of implementation in their respective schools. Mr. De from MPS had expressed his ideas based on the recognition of diversity in the classrooms and how adhering to the RS Ideal – Environmentalism is actually a responsibility of all students and faculties of MPS being a school which is located in one of the most prominent Bio-Geographical Hotspots of India. Across the Round Square network the Discovery Framework is being used in conjunction with a wide variety of curricula, including in-country national, National Boards, the IB, and curricula applied internationally from leading education jurisdictions such as England and Wales, Australia and the USA. In many cases the Round Square Discovery Framework is being used to create an overarching structure that links and makes sense of previously contrasting learner profiles, providing a structure within which a single teaching and learning approach can fulfill the needs of a variety of different curricula. It was indeed amazing to absorb the means and ways in which we can distill the true essence of the Framework, in the context of the curriculum which is followed at Maria’s Public School, Guwahati, Assam, India, and give the current system an opportunity to ‘stretch beyond our limits’ and implement new ideas.

“The outcomes of being a Round Square school extend beyond memorable experiences and into the creation of a deeper awareness and a way of being” – added Rachel Westgarth. She was handed over a special ‘Culture Box’ by Mrs. Nellie Ahmed Tanweer, containing Traditional Symbols and Items of Assam, India.

Mrs. Nellie Ahmed Tanweer gave the vote of thanks on behalf of all the participants by saying – ‘In embracing the RS Discovery Framework, a growing number of Round Square schools are discovering their own innovative and creative ways to blend character education with academic achievement, whether through embedding “soft skills” into the harder lines of curriculum planning or drawing out the learning from extra-curricular endeavors and bringing it into the classroom. At Maria’s we would like to imbibe the principles of the RSDF to a small group of teachers and students first, before we take forward the roadmaps and get ideas implemented on a larger scale. Plan, Implement and Recognize would be the Modus Operandi on which we will be concentrating on, as soon as we get back’.

Al Tarbiyeh!
`Al Tarbiyah` is an Arabic word that means development, increase, growth, and loftiness.
*Read the Full Report by clicking here!

The 48th edition of Earth Day was celebrated at Maria’s Public School on April 23, 2018, April 22 being a Sunday. A special agenda was chalked out to sensitise the young minds towards the grave concern. The celebration began with a message from the Founder and Managing Trustee, Maria’s Public School, Mrs Nellie Ahmed Tanweer wherein she said, “What we really need is making an effort to find sustainable solutions to recycle the waste we have produced, extract the plastic waste from the oceans and reuse the existing amount of plastic, instead of producing more.” (Read the complete script below) Thereafter the Principal of the school Mrs Alpana Khound Phukan conducted a special prayer for Earth Day. (Read below) Following this the Deputy Head Boy Sayantan Choudhury and Deputy Head Girl Upasana Patgiri addressed the gathering with their inspiring speeches.

“We need to utilize our resources mindfully,” said Mr Sachin P Ranade, Sr. Centre Manager of Vulture Conservation Breeding Centres at Raja Bhat Khawa, West Bengal and Guwahtai, Assam and Assistant Director in Bombay Natural History Society, who was the chief Guest in the programme. Dr Sonali S Ranade, an experienced personality with a vast knowledge on Pine genetics and bioinformatics was the Guest of Honour who said that we should celebrate Earth Day every single day and work for the betterment of the environment. The official banner made for the occasion was unfurled by the invited guests, the Principal, the Vice Principal, the Creative Director, senior teachers and students. The morning Assembly came to an end with the rendition of Michal Jackson’s “Earth Song” by the Class 10 students of the school.

The other programmes like Poster Making, T-shirt Painting on the theme ‘Reduce Plastic Pollution’, paper bag making and Interactive Presentation Session by the guests continued till 12 O’ clock. The guests also reviewed the four house boards made on the theme of the day.

The message from the Founder and Managing Trustee

Since the year 1970, 48 Earth Days have come and gone!

If you are counting, that’s 48 years. We’ve made some progress, overcome a few obstacles. Yet, we are no closer to repairing the damage. Maria’s Public School started its little acts of green, years back and has evolved to be one of the most enterprising institution to connect the students and teachers to Nature – through the vision – ‘Learning beyond the classroom -Nature as our Classroom’.

It’s time that we embrace the hard truth. We will not save the planet. The earth is not going anywhere for the next five billion years. What will happen is that a bipedal, ‘intelligent – lifeform’ may find itself on the endangered list. Yes! That is us – the humans. We must save our own existence. Yet knowing the cause and its effects, we must treat our environment, our forests, the very life force, that allows us to exist on this planet. No, the earth doesn’t need our help, WE OURSELVES NEED HELP.

We have gone a long way, my dear students and teachers, we have voiced our opinions for years at the state, national and international levels and have been able to observe, identify and address the global issues through local actions, projects, programmes and activities. Our acts of green that strives hard to connect everyone to nature has always been the driving force, sensitizing us for the betterment of this planet. But we have crossed the stage where we should be wasting our time to count the amount of plastic that we have accumulated on this planet, over the past years.

What we really need, is making an effort to find sustainable solutions to recycle the waste which we have produced, extract the plastic waste from the oceans and reuse the existing amount of plastic, instead of producing more. MPS is also a Round Square now, which means that our responsibilities have doubled to execute activities and programmes which will be in sync with one of its ideals – Environmental Stewardship. Being a part of such a global organization is not easy, but sustaining our membership and evolving into a full fledged Round Square school is something which is going to be tougher.

This Earth Day let every student and teacher pledge to uphold the RS Ideals and work their way to a common goal. It is everyone’s responsibility.

Special Earth Day prayer conducted by the Principal

O God,
We thank you for this earth, our home’ for the wide sky and the blessed sun, for the ocean and streams, for the towering hills and the whispering wind, for the trees and the green grass.

We thank you for our senses by which we hear the songs of birds, and see the splendor of fields of golden wheat, and taste autumn’s fruit, and rejoice in the feel of snow, and smell the breath of spring flowers.

Grant us a heart opened wide to all this beauty; and save us from being so blind that we pass unseeing when even the common thornbush is aflame with your glory.

Amidst much applause and cheer from students and teachers the Founder and Managing Trustee Mrs. Nellie Ahmed Tanweer announced that Maria’s Public School has been selected as a candidate school by the Round Square. This fabulous news was announced by the Founder in a special assembly on February 19, 2018 in the presence of the Principal, Vice Principal, teachers and students.
Founded in 1966 Round Square is a worldwide network of 180 innovative schools in 50 countries across six continents that share a passion for experimental learning and character education. The Round Square approach is built around six ideals of learning: Democracy, Service, Adventure, Environmentalism, Leadership and Internationalism. Membership of the Round Square network offers schools a framework for excellence and continuous improvement, along with structured opportunities to collaborate and share experiences with like-minded peers around the world.

Mrs Mausumi Mahanta, HOD, History, Maria’s Public School attended a four-day rigorous workshop titled "Understanding the Finnish Phenomena in Education and Leadership" organized by the CII in collaboration with the University of Helsinki in Finland. As she has observed, the Finnish Government believes in equity in education for all. Hence schools in Finland are run by Municipalities where children spend a greater part of their day and everyone, students, teachers, and other staff members have a sumptuous healthy meal, free of cost. Education is absolutely free right up to the Masters Level and Finnish students have always performed exceptionally well in the PISA. Private schools are non-existent because the standard of education is very high in government run schools and the infrastructure is such that it can take anyone's breath away. There is no branding of schools. A centralized national education has worked well here in Finland because of two key words trust and responsibility with a high degree of accountability bereft of corruption. The Finnish people pay a very high tax but they are all happy tax payers. It will be futile to expect the same standards considering the size and population of India, but yet a lot more needs to be done by the Central and State Governments, after all the future of our nation rests in the hands of the younger generation, she said.

Maria’s Public School, Guwahati clinched 7 gold and 13 silver medals at the recently concluded Tenth Global Round Anniversary of the World Scholars Cup, held in the historic city of Hanoi, which saw a participation of 3600 scholars from across 40 countries of the world. The fourteen member student delegation led by the Founder & Managing Trustee of the institution, Mrs. Nellie Ahmed also comprised two mentor-teachers Mr. Anjan Gogoi and Mrs. Jabeen S. Pathak respectively. Based on their tremendous success in the regional round held in Guwahati in December last year, the students of the school qualified and earned for themselves, invitational berths for the World Scholars Cup Global Round, held from the 27th June to the 1st July in this picturesque city.
Founded in 2007, the World Scholars Cup is a global enrichment initiative for students of all backgrounds, in order to inspire in them a zeal for learning, a confidence in new skills and a sense of global citizenship. The four day programme featured four academic events—Team Debate, Scholars’ Challenge, Collaborative Writing and Scholars’ Bowl, in which the students of Maria’s Public School put up an incredible show. Besides, scholars from across the world performed together in programmes like the Scholars’ Fair, the Scholars’ Scavenge and the Scholars’ Ball, which made it possible for them to celebrate learning as part of the global family.
Maria’s Public School believes in the holistic development of the children and avails every opportunity to take ‘learning beyond the classroom’ and live up to the school vision and mission.

Paving new avenues for the mission of ‘Global Conservation Education’ and the Green Schools Alliance (GSA) - India & South East Asia Chapters, Maria’s Public School (MPS), Guwahati, Assam, India, had sent a third delegation to the 9th Student Conservation Corps & Congress – Sc3 organized by GSA at US Fish & Wildlife Service’s National Conservation Training Center (NCTC) at Shepherdstown, West Virginia, USA.
The third delegation to the congress comprised of Mriganka Borah and Pratishruti Barman, students of Class 10, Mrs. Sushmita Chakraborty, Teacher of Science and Mr. Biswajit De, Creative Director, Maria’s Public School. Being the National Coordinator School for the Green Schools Alliance – India, under the leadership of Mrs. Nellie Ahmed Tanweer, Founder & Managing Trustee, MPS had introduced two new schools to the GSA this time – Delhi Public School Raipur, represented by Ishani Saxena, student of Class 9 and Greenwood High International School, Bangalore, represented by Aryan Kota, student of Class 9, who were a part of the Indian Delegation Team. The two new students from each school were chosen through International Conservation Training Camps organized by MPS at their own Conservation Education & Training Facility at Rajasthan, India, the Maria’s Braveheart.
Sc3 is a week-long leadership training program held annually at NCTC, US – the nation's top environmental and conservation training facility. Participants, also known as Sc3 Fellows, spent a week, June 25th – July 1st, 2017, learning from world-renown experts, naturalists, scientists and conservationists as well as studying and discussing environmental, social, and economic interconnections to address biodiversity and natural resource conservation challenges affecting their generation in the ever challenging, changing world. The team got an opportunity to interact and learn from a prominent and recognized panel of speakers like Ian Cheney – Documentary Film-Maker, Pete Dominick – Media Personality, Susan Cohen, Lisa Hupp and Cameron Conaway – US Conservationists and Naturalists and Rob Watson – Entrepreneur and Pioneer of Green Buildings.
With constant support and encouragement from Mrs. Alpana K Phukan, Principal of Maria’s Public School, the Indian Delegation team was mentored by Mr. Biswajit De who is also the National Faculty Coordinator for the Green Schools Alliance – India. The Indian Delegation team was highly praised and commended for their collective performances by the delegates at the congress which comprised of 125 Schools from US, Egypt and UK.

A special report by Sushmita Chakraborty, Teacher, Maria's Public School & Faculty Fellow, Sc3 2017. Download here

Maria’s Public School, Guwahati has been awarded the International School Award (ISA) for the second time by the British Council for the period 2017-2020. The ISA Programme was executed in the school under the leadership of Mrs. Nellie Ahmed, Founder & Managing Trustee, Alpana K Phukan, Principal and Mr. Biswajit De, Creative Director of the school and the International Coordinator. During the session 2016-2017, students and teachers of the school participated in the ISA International Collaborative Projects based on Bio-diversity Awareness & Conservation, Language Studies, Art & Culture, Geography and Science and have shared their work with International Partner Schools in the USA, Uruguay, UK, Brazil and Australia. Seven projects with international Dimension were executed by student-teacher teams, each headed by 34 teachers who have really worked hard to generate strong learning outcomes. Along with its own ISA Programme, Maria’s Public School was selected to be the mentor school for a few other leading schools in Assam. As a result of the efficient mentoring, all of these schools have been awarded the ISA by the British Council. This was the first time that school activities and field trips related to the international collaborative projects were planned together with collective teams from all the schools. "To emerge as schools of Guwahati collectively, to share the bond and encourage collaboration and interaction, to make a mark and share the victory and to foster positive energies in the education sector in the northeast – these are the visions and missions with which we aspire for more such collective laurels, and we will move forward, taking the state forward in the education map of the nation", said Mrs. Ahmed.

Maria’s Public School, Guwahati, Assam is the only school in North-East India which has been chosen by the British Council to participate in the Generation UK-India programme, 2016. This programme aims to build collaboration, engagement and trust between the UK and India. In the period of 5 years starting 2015, the British Council had worked with Indian partners to support up to 25,000 young people and professionals from the UK, who have come to India to gain study and work experience. On the 7th of August, 2016, Mrs. Nellie Ahmed Tanweer, Founder and Managing Trustee, MPS, welcomed Emily Kerrison and Georgina Quinn, two Teaching Assistants (TAs) from the UK, at a special welcoming assembly organized by the Primary Section. The two TAs will be assisting teachers from Classes 1 – 5 and will be bringing in International Dimension within the existing curriculum. They would also be a part of the various international collaborative projects which the school is undertaking for the British Council International School Awards programme, creating more scopes of global citizenship and collaboration. The TAs were officially assigned to the school at an induction programme that was organized by the British Council at Hotel Latit, New Delhi, on the 6th of August, 2016 attended by Mr. Biswajit De, Creative Director of the school, who is also the Mentor Teacher for the Generation UK-India Programme at MPS.

The Generation UK-India programme will:
-- Promote India as a destination to gain study and work experience.
-- Offer mutually beneficial placements that will give UK young people the chance to develop employability skills and support the internationalization of     Indian companies and academic institutions.
-- Create links that will be the basis for future collaboration.
-- Build a network of talented and ambitious young people from the UK who will form a future workforce ready to work in India and Indian companies.
-- Build deeper, wider and stronger understanding between India and the UK.

Generation UK-India currently works with Indian institutions to create opportunities for young people in the UK to undertake for:
-- Cultural immersion placements.
-- Teaching assistantship and Work placements.

Maria’s Public School (MPS), Guwahati, Assam has been chosen to be the National Cordinator School by the Green Schools Alliance (GSA), an international organization of sustainable schools that fosters collaboration among its members to help them set and meet individual and collective sustainability goals. Uniquely created by schools for schools, the GSA is a global peer-to-peer network of pre-K-12 schools represented by school decision makers (including sustainability coordinators, students, principals and heads, faculty, facility managers, business officers and other administrators and staff) who work together to solve climate and conservation challenges. The declaration was made during the Student Climate Change & Conservation Congress (SC3) – June 29-July 2, 2016 at the National Conservation Center of the US Fish & Wildlife Service, Shepherdstown, West Virginia, USA, where the official plaque was handed over to Mrs. Nellie Ahmed Tanweer, Founder & Managing Trustee, MPS, by Margaret H. Watson, Founder President of GSA. Headed by Mrs.Tanweer, designated as the National Cordinator – GSA, India this year’s delegation to the congress comprised of Sayantan Chaudhuri & Upasana Patgiri, students of Class 10, MPS as the student fellows and Mr.Biswajit De, Creative Director, MPS as the Faculty Coordinator & Mentor. During the congress, the MPS team had put up a collective presentation on ‘Conservation Education – the North-East Perspective’ to stalwarts from Global Conservation and student and faculty delegates from 250 states and 7 countries. The team got an opportunity to interact with Turk & Christy Pipkin, writers, filmmakers & co-founders of the Nobelity Project, Joe Riis, National Geographic Photographer and Photojournalist, Jay Slack, Director, National Conservation Training Center, U.S. Fish & WildLife Service, Rob Watson, Environmentalist & Pioneer, the Green Building Project, U.S., Dr.Compton Jim Tucker, Senior Scientist, NASA, Dr. Mamie Parker, Biologist & Environmental Leadership advocate, and many other prominent personalities from around the World.

As the National Coordinator School, MPS has already introduced Pathways World School (PWS), Aravali as the first Indian school to be the member of GSA. PWS was represented by Student Fellow Raina Ahmed, student Form 10, PWS at the congress. MPS is now a catalyst for school communities who aspire to become global leaders in their own community, better stewards of the Earth, learn from one another, and put their passion into conservation related actions. Through MPS, the Alliance brings to scale programs that empower Indian schools, both Urban & Rural, to set sustainability goals, take action, and track and share progress. MPS will play a key role in India to harness collective power, policy, education and behavior, by organizing events like the SC3 and integrate Conservation Education prominently into its curriculum.

Maria’s Public School (MPS) in Guwahati, Assam has been designated a National Coordinator school for the Green Schools Alliance (GSA), an international coalition of sustainable schools, created in 2007 by schools for schools. The GSA has grown to 7,800 public and private schools in 41 U.S. states and 53 countries representing over 5 million students. MPS will serve as a mentor to new member schools in India, rural and urban, host regional sustainable school events, and assist GSA in developing international student and educator training programs. The collaboration will create the long-term infrastructure needed to support a ‘GSA India Chapter’.

Mrs. Nellie Ahmed Tanweer, Founder & Managing Trustee, MPS assisted GSA in creating the partnership framework for what a National Coordinator school would do, creating a system for GSA to recruit national coordinator schools in other countries. “It is important to include conservation education paradigms within our curriculum, being a school located in one of the most prominent bio-geographical hotspots of the world, and we aspire to reach out to schools and community in the North East, especially in the remote areas through sustainable conservation education, with the help from GSA”, said Mrs. Tanweer. The idea for this partnership was sparked when MPS’ Creative Director & Teacher of Design, Mr.Biswajit De and students Violina Das and Siddhant Agarwala attended the GSA’s Student Climate Change & Conservation Congress (SC3) in West Virginia, USA in 2015.

The partnership between MPS and GSA takes the next step in uniting the global sustainable school movement. The designation of a National Coordinator school in India marks the first partnership of its kind for GSA outside of the United States. “GSA’s vision has always been to affect change at the national and global scale. When schools come together to create a global green school community and connect across generations, socioeconomics, and geopolitics, we can make giant leaps of progress from many small steps,” states Margaret Watson, founder and president of the GSA. “The leadership that Maria’s Public School has shown in becoming our first National Coordinator school is impressive”, she added.


Studying in world-class institutes would not be a privilege for a chosen few anymore, but would be possible for all aspiring students with academic requirements; this was stated by all present at the meeting of the representatives of the High Commission of Canada and the representatives of the prestigious Canadian universities on November 16, at Maria’s Public School, Birkuchi, Guwahati. Ms Ivy Lerner-Frank, First Secretary, Education and Mr Sanjeev Verma, First Officer, Immigration of the High Commission of Canada addressed a gathering of students and spoke at length about the facilities and study conditions in Canada. The representatives of the universities informed about the available avenues in the universities through one-to-one interactions with the students. Canada houses some prestigious institutes and they offer consistent high quality of education across the country, affordable education, exciting campus lifestyle, innovative and abundant research opportunities, internship and employment options, qualifications that are valued world-wide and immigration options. The visit of the Canadian officials was organized by the Indo-Canadian Business Chamber through the 2nd Edu-Canada Undergraduate Education Outreach to East and Northeast India and hosted by the Founder and Managing Trustee of Maria’s Public School, Mrs Nellie Ahmed Tanweer. The initiative for this endeavour was taken by Mrs Tanweer following her educational trip to Canada during the month of May this year. The Managing Trustee through the international dimension programmes has been instrumental in providing a global perspective to the students of Maria’s as well as the entire students community of northeast India.
Following the meeting at the school in the morning hours, a dinner was also hosted by the Managing Trustee to the Canadian delegates as well as government officials of Assam and renowned educationists in the city at her residence in Kharghuli.

*National British Council School Ambassadors

Recently, the British Council National School Ambassadors’ Annual Meet 2015 was organized at the Hotel Gateway, Kolkata where representatives from 135 institutes, NGOs & Educational Forums had met for a two-day Workshop cum Interactive Session on various British Council Programmes – Connecting Classroom, Education UK, Regional School Mentoring and more.

Honourable Founder & Managing Trustee of Maria’s Public School, Mrs. Nellie Ahmed Tanweer had attended the BCSA 2015 Meet, 2015 along with Mr.Biswajit De, the Creative Director of the school.

Through their work with schools, the British Council is constantly striving to achieve high standards in taking Global Education and International Learning Experiences to classrooms in schools across India, and the panel of British Council Ambassadors, from all across the country is shaping the 21st Century Education Paradigms, sharing information and ideas, both on the National & International Platform. The ambassadors’ network plays a crucial role in reaching out widely; guiding and advising new schools; sharing open feedback and new experiences for a much bigger impact of the various British Council Programmes, and MPS, Guwahati plays a crucial role in bringing in International Dimension to the State of Assam and the North East. The British Council School Ambassadors’ Annual Meet 2015 was a platform to thank each one of the participants for their unconditional support and encouragement.

*Honourable Founder & Managing Trustee leading a team of teachers during a special workshop & admiring the work of the KGBV Schools in Meghalaya.

Maria’s Public School has been commended by the British Council to be the Mentor School to 10 KGBV(Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya) Schools in Meghalaya, hand-holding them to integrate International Dimension into their curriculum. MPS has been successful in helping these schools located at remote areas in the East & West Garo Hills, to achieve excellence in Evidence-Driven Projects. All of the 10 Schools have been awarded the ISA- International School Award at the Foundation Level by the British Council. Mrs.Tanweer had received a special commendation certificate during the meet. Commendation from the Dept. of Education, Govt. of Meghalaya will be given to the institution during the Foundation ISA Award Ceremony, which is being planned during the end of this year.

Upholding the schools vision and mission – ‘Learning beyond the Classroom - Nature as our Classroom’, Marians have recently received standing ovation at the 7th International Student Climate & Conservation Congress in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, USA, for their presentation on “Conservation Education in North-East India”.
The Green Schools Alliance (GSA) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Conservation Training Center (NCTC) had joined forces to host the International Congress (Sc3) last week at the National Conservation Training Center, Shepherdstown, West Virginia, USA. The programme was designed to equip high-performing school students from around the globe with conservation leadership skills through a series of plenary and breakout training sessions, using a student-driven process called the ‘Open Space Technology’. The student fellows were engaged in interactive presentations on topics ranging from energy-efficiency, to climate change, to what it means to be a good citizen in a global community.
Representing their school, State & Country, Violina Das and Siddhant Agarwala, students of Class-10, Maria’s Public School, Guwahati, Assam, India were chosen by GSA as Student Fellows to the Congress and Mr.Biswajit De, Creative Director of the School, as the Faculty Fellow and mentor to the participating team. MPS was the only Indian school to participate at the Sc3 The participants, both students and faculties were nominated by their schools and were competitively selected on the basis of their responses to a series of online questions, telephonic interviews and their dedication towards conservation. This year’s cohort included 125 students and 29 faculty fellows and staff, collectively representing 27 states, the District of Colombia, and the countries of India, China, Haiti, Morocco, Ivory Coast, and Yemen. Faculty Fellows were leaders from GSA affiliated schools, partner colleges and universities, and the conservation community.

‘It was now time for us to take the vision and missions of the school-Learning beyond the Classroom & Nature as our Classroom, forward and make a mark on an International Platform. I am happy that MPS has become Global Leaders of Conservation Education and is setting the stage for the new generation paradigms, through participations at such programmes, bringing forth enterprising contacts’, said Mrs. Nellie Ahmed Tanweer, the Founder & Managing Trustee.

As a Faculty fellow, Mr. De had mentored the groups of students, sharing his experience and providing hands-on help with local Forest Service projects. These projects included maintenance of an outdoor classroom at Shepherdstown Elementary School, Trail clearing at Cullison Park at the Yankauer Nature Preserve, Biodiversity surveys within the NCTC Campus and Removal of Exotic Invasive plants at Morgan's Grove Park. In addition, students had identified specific community-improvement projects that they will undertake over the following year upon their return to their home communities. These ongoing initiatives in their home towns and schools will be sponsored by the Green Schools Alliance, and supported by the peer and faculty network, mentored by Mr.De. In addition to the above, the students had opportunities to interact and learn more from some the most prominent figures in conservation today – Carl Safina (Marine Biologist & Conservationist), Dr. Erin Pettit (Glaciologist from Alaska), Joe Riis (National Geographic Photographer), and Dr. Benjamin Tuggle (Naturalist & Researcher), to name a few. Post SC3, Maria’s Public School has been officially declared as the leader in environmental sustainability, bio-diversity awareness & conservation, as the GSA, India Chapter and Violina Das and Siddhant Agarwala to be the GSA International Student Ambassadors.
-Biswajit De, Creative Director.
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A delegation of ten students from Maria’s Public School led by Principal Alpana K Phukan left for Malta on the 9th May, 2015 to take part in a week-long academic programme organised by the Edward de Bono Institute of the University of Malta in collaboration with the Embassy of Malta in New Delhi. The programme was initiated by Founder and Managing Trustee Mrs Nellie Ahmed Tanweer who had personally visited Malta in November, 2014 and thought it was a worthwhile visit to this institute of great repute. It was indeed a milestone in the lives of the ten bright students from a remote corner of the northeast as the programme was both fruitful as well as enriching.

The academic calendar that was planned was perfect to a T. Professors of the stature of Dr Leoni Baldocchino, Dr Margaret Mangion, Ms Shirley Pulis Xerxes, Mrs Tania Farrugia, Ms Natalie Nwoke and Prof Sandra Dingli of the Edward de Bono Institute conducted the workshops of different aspects of Creativity, Innovation, Entrepreneurship, Critical Thinking and Foresight – skills which are prerequisites of everyday life in this complex world. These courses will not only help the participating students but also act as eye-openers to their peers in school, when the former hold classes for them on the subjects. The trips to the Microsoft Innovation Centre and Aurobindo Pharma, a plant for testing medicines exported from India did much to develop their entrepreneurship skills and think of start-up companies.

The picturesque and tranquil sights of the island country were like a healing balm on the souls. The captivating forts and palaces, megalithic temples, old houses and buildings speak a lot for the government’s effort in restoring these ancient sites. The majestic Mediterranean flowing along the coast adds to the grandeur and awe of Malta. The warmth and hospitality of the Maltese people gladdened the hearts and each one of the eleven will remember the ten glorious days spent in this microcosm of the Mediterranean.

-Alpana K Phukan, Principal

Mrs Nellie Ahmed Tanweer, the Founder and Managing Trustee of Maria’s Public School recently visited Canada to take part in the familiarisation mission of 11 education officials from India and Kenya to Atlantic Canada. This was a Government of Canada initiation to provide the best quality education to international students in Atlantic Canada’s universities, community colleges, schools and research institutes. The delegates were selected by the participating Atlantic universities and schools based on their schools’ potential to send qualified international students to Atlantic Canada. Maria’s Public School was the only school from northeast India to be invited as a part of the delegation. The other schools that sent representatives were Indus International School, Bangalore International School, Hyderabad International School, Oakridge International School, Bangalore, Mussoorie International School, Delhi Public School, Delhi, Loreto House, Kolkata, Convent of Jesus and Mary, JJ International School, Ahmedabad and Mombasa International School, Kenya.
The delegation visited 16 different educational institutions in the region for two weeks, experiencing firsthand the quality and diversity of education programmes and facilities throughout Atlantic Canada. International students in Canada come from 194 different countries around the world. Students choose to study in Canada for its safety, strong education system, tolerant society, opportunities for fulltime work and cost advantage.

The State University of New York (SUNY OSWEGO) in association with EduExcellence, the Indian organization for introducing new culture in education, has agreed to offer International Academic Scholarship to high achieving students of Maria’s Public School, Guwahati. This has been possible following an MoU signed between Mrs. Nellie Ahmed Tanweer, the Founder & Managing Trustee of Maria’s Public School, Guwahati, and Lorrie Clemo, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, SUNY OSWEGO. SUNY, the largest public University in US offers some of the best programs in graduation and post-graduation for bright students from schools across India and also has some of the best Professional Development Programmes for the teachers. Establishing further educational partnerships and tie-ups with Maria’s Public School, identified as an excellent and enterprising institution, SUNY will be supporting recruitment, development and matriculation of students (F-1 degree seeking undergraduates), where the students may apply for enrolment and be accepted into SUNY Oswego prior to entering or during their final year, as part of early admission/conditional admission process. High Achieving Students from the senior secondary have already been selected to apply at SUNY.

Successfully integrating International Dimension and Global Education Paradigms for the 21st Century, Maria’s Public School, Guwahati has been awarded the International School Award by British Council, for the academic year 2013-2017.
At a recent award ceremony for the same in Delhi, on the 4th of December, 2014, Mrs.Nellie Ahmed Tanweer, Founder & Managing Trustee received the award from Gill Caldicotts, head of Global Citizenship Programmes, British Council. The trophy and official certificate was shared with the students and teachers of the school yesterday by Mrs. Alpana K Phukan, the Principal of the school.

The International School Award (ISA) Programme, piloted in India in the year 2003 is a benchmarking scheme that accredits schools as having an outstanding level of support for - nurturing Global Citizenship in young people and enriching teaching and learning. It also provides a framework for schools to develop an action plan and implement international activities throughout the year, and encourages schools to collaborate with overseas schools to create a rich learning experience for students through use of ICT, and creative pedagogical practices and real context for learning. As a part of the ISA programme, Maria’s Public School had collaborated with partner schools from Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, UK, Uruguay, Greece, Brazil & Australia and had executed exchange projects based on the different subject. Students had participated and exchanged information with the partner schools guided by the respective subject teachers. Mr. Biswajit De and Mrs. Mautushi Borthakur were the two ISA Coordinators who had facilitated the exchange and execution of the projects.
Adding to the International Dimension, Mr. Biswajit De, Creative Director of the school has won the ‘Global Teachers Accreditation Award’ from British Council for his Action Research Project on the topic ‘Creating teacher Leaders to impart global awareness, through innovative teaching of Biology’. The GTA Accreditation would give him opportunities of integrating Biodiversity Awareness and Conservation Paradigms within the existing curriculum of the school, as this is a crucial area for the North-East India. He is currently also a trainer of ICT Skills and a mentor to the Dept. of Education, Meghalaya, for schools located in the Garo hills, being a part of the British Council ‘EQUIPS’ Training Team.

The University of Malta together with the High Commission of Malta in India had organized a high profile education delegation that had visited Malta from 4th – 11 th November 2014. The group comprised of selected high school principals, heads and owners of educational institutions from across India were led by Ms. Megha Srivastav, Head of Operations for the University of Malta in India. Mrs. Nellie Ahmed Tanweer, Founder & Managing Trustee, Maria’s Public School, Guwahati, Assam was one of the esteemed group members.
The event was fully supported and facilitated by the High Commission of Malta in India.
The delegates have spent their time in Malta, have interacted with the students, faculty and senior officials of the University, and had participated in an academic programme exclusively designed for them by the faculty of the Edward De Bono Institute of the University of Malta. Provisions were also made for sightseeing and leisure activities with the assistance of the Malta Tourism Authority.
The delegation visit aims at showcasing Malta and its educational, cultural and social setting.
The University has been placing a special emphasis on developing collaborative exchanges with Indian education experts, academics and institutions of learning. Organizing this delegation was a reiteration of this objective. Over the last five years the University of Malta has been actively promoting itself in India, receiving extensive support from the High Commission of Malta in New Delhi. Through this concerted effort, interest in collaboration between Malta and India has increased at various levels. Promoting mutual academic exchanges, organization of seminars, sharing of knowledge and expertise with Indian Higher Education institutions has become a prominent item on the internationalization agenda of the University.

Founder & Managing Trustee, Mrs. Nellie Ahmed Tanweer is attending the 7th International Study Tour for School Principals and Owners at the State University of New York, US. In this rejuvenating & educational programme, the State University of New York has prepared an enriching content for the conference that will help the principals and owners in understanding the US Educational Practices with a new perspective.

7th International Study Tour for School Principals and Owners has been organized from the 31st May-8th June, 2014.

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