Education minister Bratya Basu and members of FACES with the educationists who were awarded in a programme on Friday evening. (Sayantan Ghosh)
Dedicated educationists and meritorious students shared the limelight on Friday evening as they were recognised for their hard work and diligence.
The annual get-together of Friends of Alumni/ae of Colleges, Educational Institutes and Schools (FACES), a registered society that works toward the creation of human resource in the field of education and uplift of the underprivileged, was all about recognising excellence in education.
“This is the first time we have organised the award ceremony and we hope to scale it up in a big way in the years to come,” said Imran Zaki, president of FACES, which was formed in 2007.
FACES gave away five scholarships to needy and meritorious students — Danish Khurshid, a Class X student at Calcutta Boys’ School, Shehnaz Ahmed of Mahadevi Birla Girls’ Higher Secondary School, Dikshita Parija of St. Stephen’s School, Bowbazar, Aman Singh of Khalsa English High School and Genevieve Mukhiya of St. Thomas’ Girls School, Kidderpore.
The scholarships were given away by state education minister Bratya Basu, who was the chief guest for the evening.
The second part of the hour-long ceremony, which was attended by principals of 45 schools and colleges in the city and the members of 52 alumni associations, saw Basu felicitate educationists who have made a mark on society with their dedication.
One of the recipients of the awards was educationist and social activist Farah Khan. A trustee of the Mashriq Education Trust, she runs a spoken English school in the suburbs and helps underprivileged students to continue their education with scholarships.
Another awardee was Anindita Banerjee Tamta from the NGO Parivar, who was recognised for her work with underprivileged children of the city. “While working with these children and coming in touch with the formal schools, I have realised that we need to work towards bridging the gaps between the two and make them both a part of the mainstream,” Tamta said after receiving her award.
Sayan Mukherjee’s story was an inspiration for many. The former employee of PwC, who spent 20 years of his life working for various multinational companies, decided one day to quit his corporate aspirations and joined the Future Hope organisation. Presently the director of administration and finance at the NGO, Mukherjee spoke passionately about the need for Indian companies to increase their corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities.
Md. Nizam Shamim, a retired IPS officer and an educationist who is working tirelessly to improve the condition of the minority community, was another awardee.
“When we saw how backward the minority community was, the Education Coordination Committee came forward to help in doing away with it.... I believe that if a part of the country or community cannot contribute to the growth of the nation, it is not a healthy country,” said Shamim, the general secretary of the committee.
“The piper who plays the same tune”, as Brother Brendon MacCarthaigh calls himself, was the next awardee. One of the founder members of Serve, an organisation that works with education, MacCarthaigh spoke passionately about the suffering of the students in schools across the country, especially in Calcutta.
“There are so many children suffering in schools. It is distressing that Calcutta has the world’s highest student suicide rate and we need to do something about it,” he said.
Mukta Nain, the principal of Birla High School for Boys, was given a special award for her role in implementing innovative measures in the school, for which she received an award from CBSE.
“We always see film stars and musicians getting awards but not educationists, so I feel really honoured to receive this,” Nain said.
The education minister applauded FACES for its work and expressed interest in discussing possible options where the government could work with the organisation.
“Like Brother MacCarthaigh mentioned, I believe that there are a lot of problems in the educational institutes of our state but thing are changing. We also need educationists to become more responsible and move themselves away from academic alienation,” said Basu.
“We believe that recognition is the biggest motivation and needs to be encouraged,” said Zaki.
Satnam Singh Ahluwalia and Rajendra Singh, vice-presidents of the organisation, Jasjit Singh, the general secretary, and Rajesh Arora were also present at the event.