Lavish. Perhaps the one word that describes schools in Gurgaon. With no dearth of space — unlike with Delhi’s older, more established schools —Gurgaon schools have used it well. With corporate backing for many, infrastructure, it seems, has no limits. Smart classes, swimming pools, indoor gold courses, gyms, even spas — you name it, they have it. Students here have it good.
The HT-C fore 2012 Top School Survey results recognise and reflect these excellent facilities. This year, unsurprisingly, The Shri Ram School (TSRS), Aravali, has topped the Gurgaon schools ranking in 2012, scoring the highest on the ‘sports’, ‘extracurricular activities’ and ‘competence of teachers’ parameters, to name a few. Heritage School is a close second, with the best ‘teacher care and development’ across schools in this Delhi suburb. The top ten has seen some significant changes from the 2011 list — Lotus Valley school and Delhi Public School (DPS), Sushant Lok are new in the top ten, both showing a marked improvement across parameters from last year’s survey. Summerfields has dropped out.
Praharsh Joharey, a class 12 student at TSRS, Aravali, explains why he likes his school. “Activities are centred around Indian culture. Students have a lot of responsibility,” he said.
The Heritage School’s infrastructure is, once again, the best among schools, far ahead of the competition. Given their four basketball courts, design labs, automated library and wi-fi across the campus, students are spoiled for choice. It also has the best ‘teacher care and development’ score. Where the top two schools lose out to the school ranked third, DAV Public School, Sector 14, is in the ‘value for money’ parameter. DAV Schools are known to cater to middle class parents and generally have lower fee structures than other private schools, without compromising on teaching quality.
But is there a danger of schools here turning into so-called ‘luxury schools’. “The difference is between schools that were opened to make money and those that were opened with the thought of providing good education,” said Chakravarty.
One of Gurgaon’s new schools, Sun City World school, offers a unique curriculum. This caters to its clientele well. “We have a multiple intelligence learning centre for kids, the only one of it's kind in the world,” said Rupa Chakravarty, the school’s principal. The parent community here is similar to what one sees in Gurgaon — highly educated parents, working in multi-national corporations.
“Parents want quality. Many things are basic facilities now — IT labs are not luxuries anymore,” said Sudha Sahay, principal (senior school), TSRS, Aravali. “Money is not an issue for parents in the school, most are service class, they do not hesitate if they know it is going to provide the best education,” she added.
The other big trend is for international schools in Gurgaon. Many, such as Sun City, offer programmes such as the Cambridge International Examination and the International Baccalaureate Diploma. Others are full-fledged international schools that have mushroomed around Delhi, both in Noida and Gurgaon. “Many people from abroad have come back, they want an international curriculum, rather than rote learning. They want to promote creativity and research,” said Sudha Goyal, principal, Scottish High school, one such International School in Gurgaon.
Luxury or not, international or domestic, student’s worries remain the same. “I am worried about the grades since cut-offs are so high,” said Ankita Banerjee, a class 12 student at TSRS, Aravali.