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Lakshmi—the see through college
The Lakshmi Girls’ Hindu College, situated on the Eastern Main Road in St Augustine, at the northern entrance to the University of the West Indies, is unique, not only because it is the first Hindu college to be established in Trinidad, but also because of its history of failure and success.
Mrs Sonia Mahase-Persad, principal of Lakshmi Girls’ Hindu College, has written of this college:
“We share a great sense of pride in the astounding journey of success and achievements of the Lakshmi Girls’ Hindu College since its inception in January 1964. Today, I have the honour to be at the helm of this noble institution and to continue to build on the foundation laid by administrators, staff, students and parents over the last five decades.
“Lakshmi is unique in the educational landscape since it was not only the first Hindu secondary school run by the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha Board of Education; it was also the first all-girls Hindu college in the country. In 1964, when few Hindu girls accessed education as a result of various societal and cultural challenges, it was a visionary move to establish a secondary school of this nature.
“This institution has fulfilled an important role in providing a first-class education for thousands of young ladies who have gone on to make a meaningful contribution in all spheres and professions. Lakshmi girls can be found in the legal fraternity, medicine, engineering, education, journalism and other areas of higher learning.
“Over the years, the school has grown structurally and expanded its curricular offerings. The staff and student population have grown significantly and we have enjoyed outstanding academic success as can be seen in the numerous scholarships. Three consecutive President’s Medal winners plus we continue to receive regional awards and accolades.
“Indeed, we have progressed from the days of the “See Through College” (no doors and windows). In spite of its many challenges, it is fondly remembered by both staff and students. To all these pioneers we owe a debt of gratitude.”
Mrs Sharda Maharaj-Ramjattan, Vice Principal and recently promoted Principal of Parvati Girls’ Hindu College in Debe, South Trinidad, has also recorded her impressions of this unique educational institution:
“Change has brought our schools under scrutiny, whereby we must now cater to deliver a curriculum aligned to the changing external environment as well as harness the talents and varied abilities of our students.
“At Lakshmi Girls’ Hindu College, we are cognizant of the many changes taking place in our society and we are committed to adapting to best practices. We utilise the education system as a powerful mechanism to provide educational opportunities that will help students develop their fullest potential.
“Today, we live in a world of technological advancements where paper and pen have been replaced by Ipads, laptops, notebooks. Our children communicate by snapshots, tweets, texts and an evolving set of acronyms suited to their generation. Teachers have now been challenged to create new classrooms and adjust their pedagogical approach.
“Their traditional blackboard and chalk classrooms have now been replaced by technologically driven classrooms. New classroom initiatives emphasizing a child-centered approach, such as the flipped classroom concept, STEM and STEAM initiatives have been recognised as the way forward.
“At Lakshmi Girls’ we constantly seek ways to keep abreast of the many changes in the education system, society and our students. We acknowledge that despite the many advances in the economy and society, we still receive many students who are unable to fully utilize the opportunities afforded them because of being affected by social issues.
“We believe that every student is a valued member of our school community and we endorse a pastoral approach where interventions are put in place to assist and empower these students. We practice an inclusive approach to education ensuring that every student is given the best opportunity to develop to her fullest potential.
“At Lakshmi Girls’ we have created a climate hospitable to education in order that respect, safety, a cooperative spirit and other foundations of fruitful interactions will prevail. This is only possible because our belief in God and our commitment to strong Hindu beliefs and values.
“We must also recognise that developing the intellectual capabilities of our students is only part of the journey. If we are to truly improve our society, then we need to produce citizens who can positively reconstruct the decaying moral and social fabric of this country.
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