Fr J. Maurus National Award for Innovation in Education was conferred on Dr Jagdish Gandhi, Founder-Manager of City Montessori School, Lucknow, in Mumbai on 10 December 2018. The Award was instituted by the Society of St Paul and Better Yourself Books, Mumbai, on the occasion of the 55th Birth Anniversary of THE TEENAGER TODAY, founded by Fr J. Maurus in November 1963.
Dr Gandhi is the first recipient of the Award instituted to recognise the unique contributions made by educationists, principals of schools or founders of educational institutions, who have made their mark with their innovative educational methods.
Establishing the Award during a specially convened gathering at Bandra (Mumbai) Fr Varghese Gnalian, the Provincial of the Society of St Paul, the publishers of THE TEENAGER TODAY, said, “We are extremely happy to establish this Award in memory of Fr J. Maurus, an educationist with a difference, a great visionary, a bold innovator and a prolific writer who has to his credit over 125 books, and to confer the first Award on Dr Jagdish Gandhi, known for his exceptional innovative ideas in the field of education.”
The Award, consisting of Rs 25,000 in cash and a citation, was jointly presented to Dr Gandhi by Most Rev. John Rodrigues, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Bombay, Fr Varghese Gnalian, and Dr Snehal Pinto, Director, Ryan International Group of Institutions, Mumbai.
Receiving the Award, Dr Gandhi profusely thanked Better Yourself Books and THE TEENAGER TODAY for instituting the prestigious Fr J. Maurus National Award for Innovation in Education, and for choosing him to be the first recipient of the Award.
On the sidelines of the award function, Dr Jagdish Gandhi spoke to THE TEENAGER TODAY. Excerpts from the interview.
What was the purpose of starting City Montessori School?
We have been created by God, to love Him and to worship Him. I realized that education is the greatest service to God. Why should we not serve God through education? So, I started the City Montessori School. CMS is the only school in the world that has received the UNESCO prize for World Peace Education (in 2002).
What was your vision for the school?
School must be restored to its traditional role as the lighthouse of the society and teachers must be trained to play their traditional role as transmitters of morality, builders of character and custodians of culture. If the school is not the light house of the society, it will become the potential cause of darkness in the society. It will spread darkness. My vision is to create a global world.
Is your vision being realized in your schools?
Yes. Though gradual, the vision of creating a global world is being realized in our institutions. Human beings are made up of three realities of life — Material, Human and Divine. Unless we find a balance among these three realities, we grow up incomplete. At CMS we try to convey this message to the teachers, parents and children by providing them the right balance. We give them material education i.e. teaching of maths, science, geography, arts, languages, etc.). The child is also a part of the family which is a miniature form of society. We teach our children to be concerned about the welfare of the entire family through human education. When the boundaries of the family are extended it becomes a global family. Thirdly, divine education, which consists of pursuing spiritual perfection by learning from the Scriptures. There is God in me and God in others as well. He has revealed his message at different times through different persons. We teach our children to respect all religions and learn from them.
What is the speciality of CMS education style?
CMS education system is different from all others. We believe that education in the 21st century should be different from the 20th century. It must broaden the child’s perspective on globalism. We are preparing their minds for a global view. All our different programmes aim at achieving this goal.
Why an International Conference of Chief Justices of the World?
If you have to create world peace and unity, you need a world parliament. It’s the parliament that promulgates laws in any country and becomes the binding thread. Hence, I am instilling in my students the idea of working for a world parliament which can enact a worldwide law, agree upon a world currency, etc. This is all the more important because there is greater inter-dependence among the nations today, not only for sharing of goods but also of ideas, culture, philosophy, etc. Hence, since the year 2000 I have been organizing an International Conference of Chief Justices under Article 51 (c) of the Constitution of India. The conference is organized to devise ways to ensure a safe future for children.