Noida is in a state of flux. “The social and family structure is changing. Parents ask for more today,” said Kamini Bhasin, principal, DPS Noida. “Children spend more time with us than with their parents, which gives us the additional responsibility of offering advice and looking after their emotional growth.”
Making parents equal partners in their children’s education is the next step. Schools have adopted an open-door policy so that parents can walk in and interact with teachers anytime. “We are always open to suggestions from parents and try to incorporate those which are feasible,” says Bhasin. (DPS Noida stands second in the ‘parental participation’ category).
Schools here are more than willing to keep up with the many demands of parents—from a stellar academic record, a large playing field, special music and art classes to foreign language training and world-class infrastructure.
But some schools want to keep it real. “Parents have become very demanding now. But we are clear that we won’t have fancy things like horse riding in our school because it makes the fee go up. We have students from all economic backgrounds and everyone needs to fit in,” said Nalini Arul Raj, principal, Somerville School, which tops the ‘academic rigour’ and ‘value for money’ parameters.
Horse riding or not, there is something for everybody. Madhu Chandra, principal of the sprawling, seven-year-old Lotus Valley International School (that scores the highest in the ‘infrastructure’ category) feels that ‘new-age’ schools can give tough competition to older, established names. “One has to move with the times. Parents, especially those who work for multi-national companies or have returned from abroad are looking for a school like ours,” she said.
But ultimately, it is children with smiles on their faces that earn any school brownie points. Chandra wants to see schools redefine education. “I want schools to become a place where children cry when they leave and smile when they enter,” she said.