Indian kids in Lucknow learn lessons for life from world's biggest school
Every morning 40,000 schoolchildren response to their roll-call at The City Montessori School in Lucknow, the world's biggest school.
The latest edition of Guinness World Records awarded the title to the school with 39,437 registered pupils in the 2010-2011 academic year.
According to the school, enrolment numbers have already risen above 45,000, with 2,500 teachers, 3,700 computers, 1,000 classrooms - and one of the hardest first eleven cricket teams to break into.
CMS, as it is known, was opened by Jagdish Gandhi and his wife Bharti in 1959 with a loan of Rs300 (Dh20.38 at current rates) and just five pupils.
Today it sprawls over 20 sites in Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh state, and is as famous for its exam results and international exchange programmes as for its scale.
"The phenomenal growth of our school is a reflection of our efforts to please our parents with our service to their children," Gulf News quoted Gandhi, who is still involved in the school's management at the age of 75, as telling a news agency.
"Our students have exceptional academic results each year and outstanding global exposure. Getting this Guinness record is heartening but it's not just about size," he said.
The pupils, who are aged between three and 17, all wear uniform and each class has about 45 members, but the whole school never gathers for assembly as there is nowhere big enough to hold them.
CMS, which receives no government funding, charges Rs1,000 a month in fees for younger pupils, rising to 2,500 a month for seniors.
The school's size is matched only by its idealistic ambitions, with pupils taught a philosophy of universal peace and globalism under the motto "Jai Jagat" (Victory be to the World).
CMS first held the title of the world's biggest school in 2005, when it had 29,212 pupils, beating the previous record holder, the Rizal High School in Manila, Philippines, which had 19,738 pupils.
"The school is an inspiration not only to the pupils, but also to anyone, anywhere who wants to make a positive difference," Craig Glenday, editor-in-chief of Guinness World Records, told the news agency from London.
"The school understands that teaching is the most sacred of professions, and from humble origins to being the largest and one of the most respected educational establishment in the world, it is a truly awe-inspiring story," he added.