CITY MONTESSORI SCHOOL (INDIA)
AWARDED THE 2002 UNESCO PRIZE FOR PEACE EDUCATION
Paris, June 6 - UNESCO Director-General
Koïchiro Matsuura awarded the UNESCO Prize for Peace Education
to the City Montessori School (India) on June 5 following its
recommendation by the prize's international jury.
Meeting on June 3 and 4 at Organization
Headquarters, the jury commended the school "in recognition
of its efforts to promote the universal values of education for
peace and tolerance and to renew the principles of secularism
at a time when these values and principles are increasingly being
The City Montessori School (CMS),
founded in 1959 in Lucknow in the state of Uttar Pradesh, is not
a school like any other. It is distinctive not only for its size
-- with 25,000 pupils from kindergarten up to high school level,
it figures in the Guinness Book of Records as the biggest private
school in the world -- or the quality of its teaching. Its students
systematically score higher on exams than the national average.
More than anything it stands out because of it its philosophy:
For more than 40 years it has educated students to respect the
values of tolerance and peace and sought to make them citizens
of the world.
The school's founders, Jagdish
and Bharti Gandhi, inspired by the non-violence of Mahatma Gandhi,
founded their school on four fundamental principles: universal
values, excellence, global understanding, and service to the community.
Students, for example, give literacy classes in neighbouring villages,
as well as teaching health and hygiene.
The school aims to give pupils
the skills permitting them to face the complex problems of the
world today, by displaying trust for each child, by developing
their sense of responsibility, by the theoretical and practical
teaching of moral values, and by opening their eyes to other religions
The recognition given to the importance
of the family is one of the characteristics of the CMS. The school
sensitizes parents by giving them books on their educational influence
and involving them closely in the life of the school. And the
teachers benefit from continued training in the main principles
of the school, as well as in child development, psychology and
sociology. Each child has a mentor who engages in a personal relationship
with his or her charge's family.
Another characteristic of the City
Montessori School is the emphasis it places on educational research.
Its Innovation Wing employs 25 people who identify and bring in
the best educational theories and practices from whatever country,
sourcing techniques from the Montessori method, robotics, tutorial
systems or management practices.
The US$30,000,UNESCO Prize for
Peace Education has been awarded since 1981 to promote initiatives
that seek to improve public awareness and to mobilize opinion
in favour of peace. Funding for the Prize is provided though a
donation from the Nippon Foundation. In 2001, the Prize was given
to the Jewish-Arab Center for Peace in Givat Haviva in Israel
and to Ugandan Bishop Nelson Onono-Onweng. Previous prize-winners
include: the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo (Argentina), Prayudh
Payutto (Thailand), Mother Teresa (India), Rigoberta Menchú
Tum (Guatemala), and Paulo Freire (Brazil).
The time and venue of the prize-giving
ceremony will be decided later.
Monique Perrot-Lanaud, Bureau of Public Information, Editorial
Tel: (+33) (0)1 45 68 45 40, email@example.com