The January 6th, 2019 Alumni Meeting under the auspices of Kendriya Vidyalaya Cochin Port Trust (KVCPT) succeeded in officially forming an Executive Committee to organize and oversee the future development of the KVCPT Alumni Association and the continued involvement of the alumni in the further development of the school. Although the meeting was attended by fewer than the expected alumni, many significant achievements resulted from this session.
The Executive Committee was formed with 11 members, chosen from among the alumni who attended the meeting. These representatives are from various batches, with Cherian K. Philip elected as the President, V. Vinod Mani as the General Secretary and Ajil George as the Treasurer. The rest of the Executive Committee members are also dedicated alumni, who have achieved successful careers. The Executive Committee Members’ list is available at https://tinyurl.com/y9zghn3b
Need of the Hour
The alumni members who attended the meeting were shocked and saddened to hear that our alma mater is financially challenged to a large extent. For example, certificates have not been given to winners of Co-Curricular Activities (CCA) for the past few years (winners are simply announced at ceremonies to save money on printing certificates). Even the Kendriya Vidyalaya Sanghatan (KVS) provisioned services of doctor, nurse, counsellor, dance teacher, regional language/foreign language teacher and sports coaches are not being provided to the students due to shortage of Vidhyalaya Vikas Nidhi (VVN). The current students also lack most of the sports equipment.
Although a detailed discussion of the financial situation facing the school was not on the agenda for this particular meeting, the Principal, Mr. P. M. Prabhakaran, and the teachers had to reveal these sad details when the alumni started asking questions about the state of the school and the various activities for current students.
There are some clearly identifiable reasons for this sorry state of affairs. First, a few years ago, few parents from Kerala Region (not for KVCPT) filed a case against the KVS for increasing student fees. The published fees structure of KVS is here: http://kvsangathan.nic.in/academics/fee-structure
Even though these parents lost the case in the Kerala High Court, they got a stay order from the Supreme Court on the fee increase. It resulted in KV schools in the Kerala region not receiving increased revenues from student fees, while KVs in the rest of India have been receiving fees higher by about 3 times. This is the income from which all payments for stationery and contract staff are made, which is highly insufficient at the moment for KVCPT.
The second reason is that the Right to Education Act mandates a quota of 25% to be allocated to economically and socially backward sections of the society. Fees cannot be collected from students admitted under this Act. Moreover, the Government of India currently funds only teachers’ salaries and not the costs of the other support staff – security, sports coaches and teachers appointed on leave vacancies. With increase in minimum wages in 6th Pay Commission, paying support staff has also became increasingly difficult.
The third and final reason is the declining financial condition of Cochin Port Trust in recent times, which has had a significant negative impact on the overall well-being of KVCPT, wherein no financial support is being received as in the case of many other KVs in the state of Kerala. To note is the fact that KV 1 and KV 2 receive support from the Indian Navy and KV 4 (Ernakulam) has a significant alumni support.
As proud, former students of KVCPT, the alumni who were present at the aforementioned meeting felt it was our moral responsibility to help in whatever way possible to revive our alma mater to its former glory, where we not only excelled but topped and dominated the region in academics, sports, and cultural activities. We owe it to the current and future students of the school, regardless of the reasons and conditions that brought about this unfortunate situation. We were also motivated by the tremendous drive and enthusiasm displayed by the current Principal to return the school to its past status.
The Bye-Laws of the Association is being formulated and would be published in due course. The Alumni Association formed under the provisions of the Travancore – Cochin Literary, Scientific and Charitable Societies Registration Act, 1955, is being registered. A bank account is being opened for facilitating flow of funds. Legal support is being provided, pro bono by some of our Alumni itself.
As part of addressing the challenges faced by the School, the Alumni Association was welcomed to the Vidyalaya Management Committee (VMC) by the Principal at a meeting on January 10th, 2018. The meeting was chaired by the Deputy Chairman of Cochin Port Trust. Executive Committee member and Vice President, Mr. Antony Joseph, attended this meeting.
We plan to have two coordinators (one alumna and one alumnus) from each batch to communicate and coordinate with their respective batches. We have informally contacted most of the Alumni batches of KVCPT and we have had an encouraging response from them. We would also plan a meeting with these coordinators and the Executive Committee. This program will be called the “Alumna and Alumnus Coordinator Program”.
The Principal also welcomed the idea of having batch-wise get-togethers at the school auditorium. This could be facilitated though the Alumni Association.
The Executive Committee and VMC have identified the following as the key requirements. These requirements are grouped under the following three heads: Immediate, Academic, and Sports/Cultural.
Immediate: (1) Providing 500 plastic-moulded chairs in auditorium (2) Upgrading public address system in auditorium
Academic: (1) Provision of stationary for students, (2) Printing of certificates for students
Sports/Cultural: (1) Basic sports items for primary & secondary students (2) Musical instruments for band and conduct of assembly
To provide a functional structure and financial support to the Alumni Association, the attendees at the meeting decided to institute a membership structure that allows alumni to pay Rs. 2000 towards a life-time membership that comes with voting rights. Apart from this, members can sponsor specific items as per the requirements published. For example, an alumni batch can sponsor 50 plastic moulded chairs for the auditorium. They could have “Sponsored By 1999 Batch” painted on the chairs. An individual alumni member could also volunteer and give 2 chairs or 3 footballs or 2 cricket bats. All these sponsorships will be accounted for in the “Gift Register” and published by the Association. We also request alumni to explore opportunities for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) contributions by their employers and organizations. Some parents of existing students, who are willing to contribute for the upkeep of the school, will also be directed to the Alumni Association account.
We instituted such a membership structure to incentivize and allow dedicated alumni to actively participate and contribute to the well-being of the association and the School. All alumni, according to their means and interest, are encouraged to contribute – financially and otherwise – to successfully achieve the goals of the Association.
This Executive Committee believes that we are entrusted with the role of formation of the much needed Alumni Association for KVCPT and our roles are transitionary. We also resolved that we will call a General Body meeting once the setting up is complete and will be pleased to step aside for a more capable and representative committee to be formed.
All over the world, there is a culture of giving back to one’s alma mater. World over, alumni associations have become a means to provide for the continued successes of schools and other educational institutions, especially in a context where governments are finding it hard to adequately fund increasing educational demands. It is a noble act of giving back to an institution that helped us succeed in our own lives and shape our careers. Let’s mobilize ourselves and our resources to return our alma mater to its past glory and status.
We look forward to your support and co-operation.