KUWAIT: A crisis at the Indian Community School Kuwait (ICSK) has blown over on Sunday following an amicable settlement with the school sponsor, said S Kumar Wadhawan, the Chairman of the school's Board of Trustees.

A piquant situation was created on Thursday after the sponsor locked the boardroom of the school over a dispute regarding a piece of land for a new school building. The government has leased a piece of land in Mahboula where the fifth branch of ICSK is expected to be completed by 2016.

The dispute had unnerved the Indian community in Kuwait, particularly the parents of the students. "The keys of the boardroom were given to us today and we are in the boardroom now," said Wadhawan on Sunday evening adding that he had convened an emergency meeting of the board of trustees today to discuss the situation. "Certainly, we will address all the concerns raised by certain members of the community and clear their doubts," Wadhawan added.

"The ICSK is the oldest Indian school in Kuwait. It is the biggest school and the most affordable school for the Indian community. If there are any problems, let the parties involved sort them out in the better interest of the community and the students," said Sunil Jain, the Indian Ambassador to Kuwait prior to the settlement.

'Vested interests'

Earlier, expressing hope that the dispute would be settled amicably, the parent community shared its concerns. Many even suspected the hand of some 'vested interests' behind the developments who wanted to create confusion in the minds of people and tarnish the reputation of the school and the community.

"It is unfortunate to note that certain people within our community themselves are working to undermine the interests of the school. Currently, the school is running smoothly. Academically, it is one of the best Indian schools in the Gulf region," said Manoj Mathew, a member of the school Parents Advisory Board (PAC) echoing the sentiment of the parent community.

The ICSK, formerly the Indian School, was founded in 1959 with only 28 students. Today, 6,854 students are studying in the four branches of the school which has a staff strength of 480.

"Technically, it is the school of the community. But the parents, teachers and students are the real stake-holders, because they will only be affected if something happens to the school," said Ravindran, a parent. "To my knowledge, the school is functioning smoothly and efficiently. By and large, the parents, students and teachers are happy," he added.

Crucial time

The teaching staff also voiced their concerns over the unsavory developments surrounding the school especially at a time when students appear for their board exams. "The functioning of the school has improved remarkably over the last few years," said a teacher at the ICSK Senior branch on condition of anonymity. "This is a crucial time for our students. It is the responsibility of the community to keep the morale of the students high when they write their board examinations," said another teacher.

The 10,000 square meter land was given to the school by the government with an approval for construction on 8,000 square meter land. It was for the first time that the Kuwait government provided land to any foreign schools to construct own building. The school was overhauled in 2001 under the guidance of the Indian Embassy after a major scandal that broke out in the school.

By Sajeev K Peter