Bureaucrat, historian, teacher, visionary. Dr Abraham Ebenezer is all this and more. He’s a mentor, caring benefactor, and an acclaimed educationist, who has steered the fortunes of thousands of students.
During his tenure as Principal of the Bishop Cotton Boys’ School, Bangalore, he set standards of excellence that led to the school being ranked as the best in India. During his stewardship, the infrastructure of the school, founded in 1865, underwent a massive up-gradation with the addition of new, aesthetically designed buildings, state-of-the-art laboratories, fully- equipped resource centres, one of the finest auditoriums in India and information systems that included networked computers.The school also won accolades from all over India for its sporting and extracurricular excellence. None other than the President, His Excellency – Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, held an audience with Dr Ebenezer and a delegation of staff and students at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi.
Two senior students of the school even fabricated a Dextrose-engineered functioning rocket with the active support of Dr Ebenezer that had the scientific and aerospace community in a tizzy.
During his 13 years at the helm, Dr Ebenezer turned a hoary school into a media darling that set the benchmark for other schools to emulate.
Dr Ebenezer began his career in the Revenue Department as a sub registrar in 1971. In 1973, he realised his calling as a teacher and taught History at the Ramnarayan Chellaram College, Bangalore until 1985. During this time, he was also the Student Welfare Officer and Coordinator of the college’s National Social Service (NSS) activities. His experience in leading the NSS activities in urban slums and backward villages had a lasting impact on him.
Dr Ebenezer served as the Secretary of the Government College Teachers Association in 1977 and as Secretary of the Federation of Universities and College Teachers Association in 1978 in Karnataka. He was also appointed as Secretary of the Legislative Committee set up by the Karnataka Legislature to overhaul and upgrade Government-run hostels in the State the same year.
Recognizing his organizational skills in these posts, the State government appointed him as Deputy Director of the Department of Collegiate Education where his duties ranged from recruitment to execution of policy decisions.
Dr. Abraham Ebenezer opted to retire from government service in 1993 when he was offered the prestigious and challenging post of Principal of the Bishop Cotton Boys’ School.
As Principal of the school, he led key initiatives on all fronts. On the scholastic front, the school consistently achieved 100 per cent pass results in both the Std X and Std XII All- India Board exams of the ICSE/ISC. This was a direct outcome of the innovative teaching methodologies introduced by Dr Ebenezer, such as multimedia-based education, online electronic education and newspaper tie-ups.
To improve the physical infrastructure, he built 15 new buildings including a 1400-seater auditorium in the school and renovated five historic structures, including the splendid ‘St. Peter’s Chapel’ and the heritage ‘Tower Block’, all with funds raised from well-wishers.
Dr Ebenezer places a premium on all-round education, and has over the decades, driven students to excelling in various sports by providing infrastructure, coaches and facilities for cricket, hockey, swimming, basketball, football, tennis and athletics.
Inter-school debates, elocution, drama and quiz were keenly contested and the annual cultural and literary festivals conducted under his leadership drew participants from schools from across the country.
Dr Ebenezer stands for excellence in every field. The Cotton’s Christmas pageant is now the stuff of legend. Parents, teachers and students used to eagerly await this annual event which has featured in the Limca Book of Records for being the largest event of its kind.
Dr Ebenezer is an inveterate reader and a writer of repute. As a historian, it was but natural for him to chronicle the saga of the school in ‘Eton of the East’, 1998, and ‘Walls that Speak’, 2003. He has also involved himself in the writing of history textbooks and is frequently sought by the media for his opinion as an educationist.
Dr Ebenezer has completed his term at Bishop Cotton Boys’ School and had been appointed Principal of Delhi Public School International in Singapore. His role was to make the school a centre of excellence as well as help the management expand its educational activities in the Asia-Pacific region.
In tandem, Dr Ebenezer has launched his new venture, the Ebenezer International School, Bangalore, offering ICSE and IGCSE streams of Education which is the offing for Indian and foreign students established in June 2007.
Dr Ebenezer received several awards and honors from India and around the globe for his outstanding contribution in the field of education.
- The Derozio Award –The highest award by the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examination, New Delhi for the exemplary service to school education and Human enrichment, 2008.
- Karnataka State’s highest award, the Rajyotsava Award for Excellence in Education, 2005.
- Excellence Award for Schools in India from His Excellency Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, President of India, instituted by the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology 2004. The award included a trophy and cash award of Rs 6.5 lakh.
- Secured a place in The Limca Book of Records, Coca Cola India, for producing the largest ever Christmas event, 2002 and 2003.
- The Paul Harris Award for Global Polio Eradication Initiative of Rotary International from the Rotary Foundation.
- Awarded the Civilian Honour for Academic Regeneration in India, from the State Unitary Enterprises, Moscow, 2000.
- Awarded the Man of the Year for General Achievement by the American Biographical Institute, North Carolina, USA, 1999.
- Awarded the International Excellence Award in the Field of Education by The All India Socio Economic Forum, New Delhi, 1997.
- Bagged the Environment Conservation Award for Pollution Control and Environment from the National Pollution Control and Environment Conservation Committee, Bangalore, 1997 Bagged the International Goldstar Award for Outstanding Contribution to Education from the Indian International Friendship Society, Abu Dhabi, 1997.
Dr Ebenezer is frequently invited by schools and universities from around the world to share his vision on education. His travels take him to the Far East, the Middle-East, Europe, US and Australia.
His schedule is always busy, yet he makes time for community service, an activity that is close to his heart. At Cottons his personal involvement was an inspiration to his students who actively participated in programmes such as Outreach, to rehabilitate lives of the retrenched mine workers of Kolar Gold Fields; Prison Ministries to involve prisoners in music and drama; National Cadet Corps, National Service Scheme and organizing an annual fellowship lunch for the downtrodden.