JEDDAH: P.K. ABDUL GHAFOUR
Published — Saturday 2 February 2013
Last update 2 February 2013 4:26 pm
Mohammed Fahad Al-Harthi, editor-in-chief of Arab News, has commended the tremendous role being played by the more than 2 million Indian guest workers for the Kingdom’s progress and prosperity.
“We value your services and we are grateful to you,” he told more than 2,500 Indian students, parents and teachers who came to attend a graduation ceremony at the International Indian School, Jeddah Auditorium.
The ceremony has won the applause of both parents and students. It was attended by Consul General Faiz Ahmed Kidwai, Higher Board Member Dr. Kareemuddin, School Observer Mohammed Raaghib Quraishi and Management Committee Chairman Khursheed Akhtar.
In his keynote address as chief guest, Al-Harthi said Arab News would continue to serve as a bridge between Saudi authorities and the expatriate community, raising their voice, demands and concerns.
The editor-in-chief congratulated the Grade XII students who have completed their course at IISJ, the oldest Indian school in the Kingdom with more than 12,000 students.
“I wish you all the best in your chosen fields,” he told the outgoing boys and girls. “As you go ahead in life, please do remember the good job that your teachers did with dedication and hard work. Also keep in mind your parents, their sacrifices, in shaping your life and career.”
Al-Harthi underscored IISJ’s contributions for the education of Indian children.
“I have heard all the good things about this school … All those who are involved in the success of IISJ, from the chairman to the principal, to the section heads, to the administrative staff, deserve accolades.”
He noted the growing relationship between Saudi Arabia and India, especially after the historic visit of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah to New Delhi in January 2006.
“Since then there is no looking back,” he said. "This relationship has been further strengthened by the visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Riyadh in February 2010.”
He added: “Arab News has always been and will always be very close to the hardworking expatriates who have contributed to the building of modern Saudi Arabia. We are grateful to them … At Arab News, our new mantra is objective journalism.
“We, at Arab News, will highlight the issues of expatriates and want to become a bridge between the guest communities and the host community. There is so much to learn from each other. There is so much to appreciate and cherish in each other.”
Al-Harthi said he wanted to take Arab News to the next level of success.
“In this, we will need your feedback and support and valuable advice,” he told the audience, including business executives, academics and IT personnel. He also requested the young graduates to consider making journalism as their future career. “It is one of the most noble professions,” said Al-Harthi, who shifted his career from architectural engineering to journalism.
Consul General Kidwai congratulated the students for having this convocation before going to college. He urged them to pursue their higher studies in subjects they like and wanted to excel. He advised them not to lose sight of their goals while enjoying their college life.
Dr. Kareemuddin commended the school officials and teachers for their efforts to improve its academic standard. He advised IISJ management not to stop the graduation program, which was introduced by him. He spoke about the psychological problems some children suffered when their parents opted to send them to India for studies at an early age.
Quraishi reminded the graduates that there are no shortcuts to success and they have to work hard. He asked the Managing Committee and school officials to extend all possible support to students who are going to appear for CBSE board examination in March.
Akhtar advised outgoing students to consult experts before selecting their future career.
Principal Syed Masood Ahmed wished all the best for his students.
“We teachers also get emotional as we consider these students as our children and we have contributed a lot for their development. We are also concerned about their future,” Ahmed said and urged the graduates to select the right path even if it is difficult.
Vice-Principal Farhadunnisa told the graduates to be more responsible. “When in school they feel and act like children. Now they are going out and should act with greater responsibility.”
Head boy Wasim Abdul Lathief and head girl Faseela Rizwi gave speeches, winning thunderous applause of the audience. Both said they and their batch mates were proud they graduated from IISJ.
“The other day, one of my friends, who had left to India after completing his 10th returned after two months. I asked him, ‘why did you return?’ I remember what he told me. I could not adjust there. There is nothing compared to IISJ,” Wasim said.
He added: “If we go back to India, we find many schools, which produce 100 percent results. In all these schools, students are the children of high-class people. But here in IISJ, we have students coming from different backgrounds, we have students from all classes of the society, from every state of India. Yet we’re capable of producing 100 percent result with the hard work of our teaching and non-teaching staff. God willing, our batch will maintain this legacy.”
Rita Sharma, headmistress for girls, and P. Noufal, headmaster for boys, gave a presentation providing guidelines to graduates on how to face life challenges. It also informed the audience that they are in charge of their happiness. Dr. Najeeb Qais Ammar, vice-principal for boys, gave a vote of thanks.
Aleena Fathim was excited like her batch friends. “The graduation ceremony was really a memorable moment. It gave us an opportunity to recollect our past memories,” said Fathim who has spent 10 years at the school. “I will always remember my school and teachers, whatever I am today is because of them,” said Fathim who wants to become an engineer.
Samar Hafiz said she was motivated by the inspiring speeches by Al-Harthi, Kidwai and other officials. Her mother Shabin Mahmoud, a teacher at Dar Al-Hanan, said she was impressed by the whole program and moved by the sincere advices given by the speakers.