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HindustanTimes Fri,19 Sep 2014
Dwarka, the new mecca for students
Zehra Kazmi, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, September 15, 2012
First Published: 17:10 IST(15/9/2012)
Last Updated: 01:41 IST(17/9/2012)
Bal Bhart School at Dwarka sector 12 in New Delhi. Photo: Vipin Kumar/Hindustan Times

If there is one thing that has single-handedly given a fillip to education in west Delhi, it is the creation of the sub-city of Dwarka. Young, upper middle-class professionals are flocking here in droves, lured by good infrastructure and the long line of apartment blocks. According to DDA estimates, after its completion, Dwarka will be home to a million people.

No wonder then, schools offering quality education have mushroomed here at a fast pace. The presence of higher educational institutions such as the National Law University, the Ambedkar University, Netaji Subhash Institute of Technology only serves to bolster Dwarka’s reputation as a hub. And unsurprisingly, seven out of the Top 10 in the 2012 HT-C fore Top Schools Survey 2012 are located in Dwarka. Top ten schools of West Delhi

“When we started in 2001, occupancy was low, there was no public transport. Teachers from Janakpuri or Vikaspuri would find it difficult to commute. But all that has changed now,” said Mrinalini Kaura, principal, Venkateshwara International.

Delhi Public School leads the pack with the highest scores in ‘academic rigour’, ‘competence of teachers’ and ‘infrastructure and facilities’. “We believe in high standards, whether it is academics or values. We give students good resources and tremendous opportunities. No student stays in anonymity - teachers give each child attention,” said Sunita Tanwar, principal, DPS, Dwarka.

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Teaching and technology
With the highest scores in ‘extra-curricular activities’, Venkateshwar International stands third while Nirmal Bhartia bags the fourth spot with the best scores in ‘innovative teaching’ and ‘life skills education’ parameters.

Dwarka may dominate the education scene here, but the rest of west Delhi isn’t far behind.

Francis de Sales, Janakpuri, sits proudly in the second spot, scoring the highest on ‘value system/integration’ and ‘value for money’. Hansraj Model School, Punjabi Bagh and St Mark’s Public School, Janakpuri also find place in the top 10.

Schools here place a premium on using the newest technology for lessons, counting it as one of their USPs. “We have smart boards, wi-fi, multimedia capsules and laptops for teachers. In fact, use of technology is one of the biggest attractions for parents,” said Kaura.

Tanwar concurs but offers a word of caution as well. “Technology has transformed the way we teach, but it is only a means to an end. We don’t believe in advertising smartboards etc,” she said.

Students — and teachers — have also found a way to harness the power of social networking sites. They use it to share information, organise competitions and society events. “We have a mini forum for our class of 40. One Facebook status updates everybody making things easier,” said Shruti Kochchar, a Class 12 student at DPS, Dwarka.

While schools don’t deny the challenges of monitoring online behavior and cyber-bullying, they reiterate the need to keep pace with the rest of the world. “You can’t blindfold children or keep them aloof from the world, like frogs in a well. Here, we try to give them roots of tradition with the wings of modernity,” said Suruchi Gandhi, principal, Bal Bharati Public School.

Students, too, have their own ideas on what a truly modern education should be. Ananay Kulshreshta, a science student at DPS, said: “Education should be more research-based, not just about rote learning. Even in prestigious research institutions like the IITs, there are only a few papers which make headlines.”

A vocal classroom at Bal Bharati sums up the mantra: “Less priority to marks, less theory, more practicals and more weightage to ECA,” said the students in unison.

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