THE POWER OF A DREAM
This is the dream that was conceived in the womb of hope around forty five years ago.
It is true: education is a serious issue. And it is made all the more serious in a nation such as this: where the West blends with the East. So, dare we be complacent enough to treat education as just another way of life, avenue of business or institutionalized system?
In a day and age which – sad to say – has generated individuals who do exhibit that laissez faire approach toward the growth of human wealth, it is nice to know that there is someone who treats the issue with the respect and care that it deserves: Mrs. Susheela George (b. 23 March 1943). She is a remarkable human being whose aim is to foster academic growth and an acute sense of responsibility in the children of this land. An educationist par excellence, her influence on the educational scenario in this nation cannot go unnoticed. It would be unfair if one did not place a proper perspective on the lady’s dedication and determination in serving the citizens of tomorrow an education that will last a lifetime: lessons that can stir them to pen their own words in the book of life.
Today, Mrs. George is the proud holder of numerous awards and citations; all of which she earned with perseverance and dedication towards her cause. The latest award in her impressive gallery is a tribute to the Educationist of the Millennium and it is only indicative of the respect and admiration that she evokes in those with whom she interacts. Dignified in her bearing, Mrs. George brooks no pretensions; in fact, such is her work ethic that she ponders not on what was or has been but on what is yet to be.
But, should that prevent us, lay folks, from glancing down the corridors of time to gain an understanding of the journey she has made to carve a niche for herself in the field of education? Determined to overcome all the obstacles that life and fate could – with tempests – toss, this remarkable lady from Coimbatore, India is the epitome of the visionary educationist. Today, Merryland International School is home to a number of fragile minds, from sixty different nations that are handled with utmost care and concern. Yet, Merryland did not materialize from thin air. This is the dream that was conceived in the womb of hope around forty five years ago.
The humble beginning
The dream began when a young graduate decided to take a small step for herself – and a giant leap in the field of education – by seizing the opportunity; albeit a challenging one, of applying her newly ratified thesis on Dalton’s method of education among the Todas, the Badugas and the Kadas of the Niligiri villages. Applying this special method in the field of adult education resulted in pleasant surprises for the young team that she had formed; but the fruits that they tasted were the product of sincere work, outright dedication and total commitment. Charismatic by nature and warm in her manner, the young visionary soon found a place in the hearts of the extremely shy village folk.
To Abu Dhabi
Destiny, however, was flying on the winds of change from the cool 7500 ft. mountain range, emerging into a hot desert life and the teacher of the tribals soon found the then developing city of Abu Dhabi, as the bride of Mr. Joseph George Parambil, she was eager to continue her application of the Dalton system of education; a method which she earnestly believed and advocated.
The first school
The thesis that was experimented on in the villages of Southern India soon began to take concrete shape in the city of Abu Dhabi and a small school was opened in April 1978.
Merryland Kindergarten (Merryland Dalton’s system of Kindergarten)
Based strictly on Dalton’s plan of education, Merryland Kindergarten began functioning with only 7 children, but such was its efficacy in imparting education at the primary level that its population grew by more than ten-fold in a span of six months, warranting a change in premises within the course of its first year of operations. This playhouse of learning concentrated on individual academic performance and personality development. In fact, this home-away-from-home for around 1000 – plus children became a firm testament to enduring academic excellence and service.
What made Merryland Kindergarten an effective institution is a combination of both, approach and dedication. The Dalton’s method of teaching is an intricate and efficient technique of coping with the demands of the individual capacity of the learner and enabling the learner get accustomed to a systematic learning process at a relatively early age. It is a flexible system and focuses a great deal on an individually planned curriculum; especially in allowing the individual learner gain a strong foundation in the fundamentals of reading, writing and arithmetic.
Sherwood Academy – CBSE (Al Taawan Private School)
The success of Merryland Kindergarten fueled further desires in the field of education and Mrs. George soon decided to make further inroads in the field of education. Sherwood Academy was founded in the year 1987 as a sister concern of Merryland Kindergarten and was initially located in the Buteen area with 190 Merryland graduates as its first pupils.
The Gulf War threatened to hamper growth, expatriates were on their flee, little did it dampen the spirits of a lady whose determination would not succumb to any negative vibes. In fact, those close to her feel that here are few people who can be as fiercely determined as Mrs. Susheela George. While many turned their backs on the uncertainties that accompany war, she fought these uncertainties with the only weapons she could carry: raw courage and brave hope.
International School – Sherwood O level (Al Taawan Private School Branch)
The rewards for such toil and pain were soon to be, for in the academic year 1996 – 1997, the institution sent up its first batch of pupils for the CBSE Gulf Board Examinations and beamed with joy at the harvest that was reaped. Beaming with success and certain of more rewards for all the hard work, Mrs. George decided to diversify and cater to the international market as well by offering the IGCSE examination in adherence to the syllabi set by the University of Cambridge Local Examination Syndicate. This division was rewarded with equally good results when its first batch of pupils appeared for the IGCSE examinations in May/June 2000.Thus in another lease land in Mushref, a 75 classroom project was raised for IGCSE curriculum.
Since then, all three sections,
- Merryland Daltons System of Kindergarten, (Merryland Kindergarten), located at Najda
- Sherwood Academy CBSE (Al Taawan Private School) in Muroor and
- Sherwood Academy O level (Al Taawan Private School Branch) located in Mushref
prospered under Mrs. George’s guidance and have been able to generate better results with time. In fact, such is the quality of education that the school provides and such is the dedication that Mrs. George instills in her teachers that the school is able to generate pupils who are amongst the best achievers in the nation, annually producing Top of the World and Top in UAE award winners.
Closure of Villa Schools
In May 2009, ADEC acting for public interest, issued decrees to close or relocate all operational school on residential plots by 2013. Merryland planned to to construct a new state-of-the-art school in the Government given plot at the MBZ City, Mussaffah and relocate. CBSE school was given three year notice for parents to find suitable schools to move out. O level parents were given preference in admissions to the new school in Mussaffah. Even though the building at Mushref was built during 2003-2004, we complied to the closure notice and closed all operations in Najda, Muroor and Mushref. We moved from the city to Mussaffah.
New Merryland in Mussaffah
The new building in Mussaffah was completed in 2010 which stands out in this land as an iconic monument for educational impartation. Classes started operation with world class facilities, unparalleled resources. Mrs. George, a globe trotter, discovered resources of high technological standards from around the world like the Robotic Development Center, Mathematical Enrichment Programme such as Abacus,Online Tracking Programmes in all Sciences, Scientific Enquiry Quest Learning, English Language Development Programme,Three Dimensional Curriculum Viewing Systems, Excitement filled Planetarium, Play Filled Learning Center of Fairyland and many more of advanced kinds were brought in sparing no expenses.
As an institution eager to provide excellence in teaching quality, Merryland International School is the epitome of what Mrs. George stands for. The MIS pupil is motivated to develop not just intellectual skills, but to focus on and move toward a more complex development with a holistic view of the world around. At MIS, under the charismatic leadership of this wholly dedicated lady, Mrs. Susheela George, teachers are encouraged to nurture the development of spiritual values, physical fitness, self-discipline and social grace.
AS and A Levels
From September 2012, we started offering continuity of education for students who pass from Grade X into our Grade XI and Grade XII.
Cambridge Advanced Subsidiary levels and Advanced levels were offered for students with full-fledged laboratories multiple labs for Science subjects like Biology, Physics, ICT, and Chemistry..
Testament of success
Merryland International School with strength of 3,000 pupils and 400 staff is a testament of success; concrete proof of the fact that Mrs. George had enough courage to wear the wings of hope and fly into the skies of achievement. Yes, we have come a long way from the dream that was conceived in the remote hills of Southern India. Surely, no accolade could befit the lady – and the dream – more than the wish to see these storehouses of knowledge and life continue nurturing the generations to come.
The Success formula
The success formula Mrs. George advocates is the 3D formula
Today, our alumni shine with the stamp of the school etched on their manner and bearing. Prominent scientists, doctors, engineers, lawyers, bankers, architects, teachers etc. carry the banner of their Alma Mater with dignity and grace in their respective walks of life. Many return to the school, eager to interact with their teachers and to tell them the value that the noble institution added to their lives. They are proud of the school[s] and the education that they gained. In fact, many – knowingly and unknowingly make the school a part of all they meet. They would not settle for any other school for their own.
And if accolades that man bestows upon fellow man are indicative of achievements, then Mrs. George has many to boast of. The list is impressive and only fractionally indicative of the worth of this lady; for it can reflect her wisdom and initiative, but is hardly a sign of the depth that she possesses. To understand that facet of Mrs. Susheela George one must take time to converse with her and get to know the spirit that drives her at an age when most just retire.