Laxman Public School in New Delhi. Photo by Jasjeet Plaha/Hindustan Times
What more can one say about south Delhi’s schools? The average age of the top ten schools in south-east Delhi is 36 years. Names such as Mother’s International, Blue Bells and Don Bosco have been around a long time. This fact in itself is a testament to their success.
So, what’s new? With hardly any new schools coming up in this part of Delhi, and colonies such as Saket, Hauz Khas and Niti Bagh providing an affluent catchment area, one might think that schools here are becoming complacent. Think again.
The schools’ curriculum has undergone a sea change in the last few years. Schools have embraced the Comprehensive and Continuous Evaluation (CCE) prescribed by the CBSE whole-heartedly. And the newest challenge schools face is posed by the Right to Education(RTE) law, which prescribes 25% reservation for students from economically weaker sections (EWS).
Mother's International School(MIS), a regular in the Top Ten, has topped the charts in the HT- C fore Top Schools Survey 2012, with the highest score in 8 out of the 14 categories schools are rated on, including ‘value for money’, ‘sports’ and ‘competence of teachers’. Amity International, Saket has come second overall, topping the ‘academic rigour’ category, pipping MIS from that coveted post. Compared to the results of the HT-C fore Top Schools Survey 2011, this year’s list of Top Ten schools has seen no change.
Gyan Bharati, Saket, tied for fifth place, is a school that has incorporated latest techniques in their teaching. “Ours is not a ‘5 question school’, where you memorise 5 questions from each chapter and it’s enough. We don’t have any prescribed books or exams till Class 8. Upto Class 4, only study materials made by the teachers are used,” said RC Shekhar, director of the school. Laxman Public School (LPS), also at number five in the rankings, has IT-enabled classrooms, something which is a given in most top schools in Delhi.
Financing poor students
The RTE law has put pressure on schools. To provide the best facilities, they worry about financing. “Within a few years, 25% of the school is going to be kids from economically weaker sections(EWS), so finances are a major issue. Schools like ours, where the fee structure is low, are facing difficulty. This will affect the quality of our infrastructure and teaching,” said Shekhar. The school has the second highest ‘infrastructure and facilities’ score. But schools here complain about the increase in costs — be it electricity and water or the increased salary to teachers. Top 10 schools of south east Delhi
Despite concerns, LPS doesn’t let finances affect their social responsibilities. No wonder it has the second highest ‘social accountability’ score. “Neighbourhood children have access to our grounds and various sports academies. We have adopted three slums and are helping empower women there, give them vocational training in beauty treatment, embroidery, computers and needlework. A total of 174 students from the EWS category study in the school,” said Usha Ram, principal, Laxman Public School.