His mobile phone begins to ring the moment he steps out of his office in Qurum. By the time he reaches out to his vehicle in the nearby parking area he answers around a dozen calls from Indian expatriates from different walks of life. It is already 4 pm. But for Wilson George, it is the beginning of a long evening.
He drives straight to the Chairman's office in Indian School Muscat, an honorary post he assumed on April 1, and spends long hours discussing issues with parents, teachers and friends. And it will be late night when he arrives home, tired and exhausted.
The hectic schedule, however, doesn't bother him. "I am a committed social worker. I have been involved in issues affecting Indian expatriates for many years. The new role as Chairman of Indian Schools' Board of Directors (BoD) puts additional responsibility on me. But I will work hard to improve the quality of schools with the help of all board members," Wilson sounds optimistic while charting out his ambitious plan.
It has been a role reversal for Wilson. A couple of months ago, many saw him participating in parents' forums, raising issues and demanding action from the then board officials. "Having participated in parents' forums, I am well aware of the issues that need immediate attention. It was my active involvement in the school's affairs which helped me gain the top spot in the BoD elections held in early January (949 votes)."
The Quality Assurance/Quality Control Manager at Duqm Refinery & Petrochemical Industries Company (an omanoil venture) believes that he can live up to the expectations of the parents of students who reposed faith in him. "The new board will function in a transparent and friendly manner. We will adopt an all-inclusive approach and will not stifle criticism. We are here to improve the quality of Indian schools," he assures.
To begin with, Wilson has formulated a five-point agenda – infrastructure, safety of students, employee satisfaction, financial transparency and communication – that calls for immediate action. "It is high time all the 19 Indian Schools in Oman got quality infrastructure. We are concerned about the safety of students both inside the campus and while using the transportation facilities," he asserts.
According to him, the morale of the teaching staff has hit rock bottom as they do not get wages commensurate with their experience and qualification. "Teachers are the backbone of our schools. We have to suitably reward their services."
Wilson believes parents, being the major stakeholders in the Indian Schools, have every right to know about the balance sheets, and it calls for better financial transparency. "The board intends to make the accounts public every year and it can be scrutinised by the parents. Moreover, whenever we take tough decisions, we will inform the stakeholders about the reasons behind it."
Implementing a system where all parents turn up to air their grievances is Wilson's dream. "I will not merely focus on emails to communicate with parents. It is always better to discuss issues in person. So I request parents to turn up for the forums, raise concerns which will be recorded, and action-taken reports will be filed in the following meeting."
These measures, according to him, will make parents feel that they are very much part of the system. "We are here to serve parents, students and the staff. We have just begun a long journey and hope we can achieve our target with their support when we complete our term in March 2016," he asserts.
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