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Global Indian International School goes to US

By Shalini Kathuria Narang
Last updated on: February 15, 2010 10:53 IST
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Part of the Singapore-headquartered Global Indian Foundation's network, the Global Indian International School has now been established in the US. Shalini Kathuria Narang reports.

The Global Indian International School, which offers a multicultural education for K-8 students, is to open its first United States branch in San Jose, California, in September. The school is currently enrolling students for the 2010-2011 school year.

The Global School is part of the Singapore-headquartered Global Indian Foundation's network of 22 schools across Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, India, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and the United Arab Emirates serving more than 17,000 students, representing nearly 40 nationalities. The four schools in India have a student population of 11,000 students. Another four schools are under construction there.

At the open house January 23 at the Computer Science Museum in Mountain View, Atul Temurnikar, the foundation's chairperson, said the schools aim to "nurture global citizens and impart an international perspective by building entrepreneurial skills from the very beginning." He said the foundation chose Silicon Valley as its US headquarters because "the emphasis on science, technology and global understanding here matches the philosophy of our schools."

The foundation plans to open 25 branches in the US in the next five years.

The Silicon Valley school is the brainchild of Bay Area-based Narpat Bhandari, country director, Global School of Silicon Valley. He was one of the founders of The Indus Entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley and founded Aspen Semiconductor in the late 1980s.

The Global Indian Foundation was co-founded in 2002 by Bhandari's late father-in-law, the distinguished jurist Dr L M Singhvi, who served as India's high commissioner to the United Kingdom. The other founders are Temurnikar and Justice C S Dharmadhikari.

Bhandari said he and his father-in-law had long discussed launching a GIF-affiliated school in the US. Last April, meetings involving Bay Area School Director Tom McLaughlin and Temurnikar followed.

McLaughlin, who has been an executive with tech companies in Silicon Valley, says the new school will ensure a solid foundation in the core subjects and technology while also emphasising languages, art, music and sports and preparing students to compete effectively in the global economy.

The Bhandari Foundation, a charitable trust Bhandari and his wife Chandra launched in 1994, has funded an India studies chair at the University of California-Santa Cruz, set up a course on the Indian Diaspora in Silicon Valley at the Center for South Asian Studies at the University of California-Berkeley, and funded a chair on cancer research at Stanford University.

"My interest in education and nurturing global citizens," Bhandari says, "is apparent via my involvement in TiE which we established in the 1990s and which has grown to 53 chapters in 14 countries. Now my dream is to make certain that the highest quality education is made available to all who seek it and to ensure that California, and Silicon Valley (within it), remain the hubs for global innovation. With trends in business, economics, politics, science and the arts all moving towards a borderless system, a global education starting at primary level is vital for success in today's world."

"As an administrator and a parent, I see a tremendous advantage for children to learn and grow in a multicultural setting, which can have a significant impact on their future careers," he adds.

Bhandari says that on the basis of need and merit, scholarships will be offered to children from families earning below a certain threshold.

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Shalini Kathuria Narang