Ghaziabad has old bungalows, tall buildings, newly constructed malls, various eating joints-and several excellent schools. Schools which reflect the mixed demands of a very mixed town itself- a place with old business families; the local nouveau-riche (thanks to the real-estate boom) as well as the well-educated Johnny-come-lately service class in the newer parts of the city such as Indirapuram and Vasundhara. Many want excellent teachers, others want the latest infrastructure, and some want it all.
In the 2011 HT-C fore Top School Survey for Ghaziabad, Delhi Public School Ghaziabad (DPSG) topped in various parameters for the second year running including ‘sports’ and ‘academic rigour’. DAV Public School had the highest ‘value for money’ score with Holy Child School and DPSG tied for second place in that category.
What students want
Schools here have upped the standard of education. DPSG, Vasundhara, for example, has ‘smart’ boards, digitally interactive classrooms and technologically advanced labs. The well-established Uttam School for Girls focuses even has a mini-golf course and a special sculpture shed.
Most students have no complaints. Monika Bhandari recently shifted to DPSG. Why? Because the CBSE topper from last year was a student there. "My father wanted me to join this school because of their consistently good results."
Mohit Suri, another student at the same school, feels that teachers go a little overboard with academics. He would much rather go to a school in Delhi. "We have to build our personalities as well," he adds.
What schools want
The next big step schools are taking here include holding regular meetings and inviting parents as volunteers— efforts to turn parents and teachers into partners in education. "We have a system where we give parents information in real time. From the attendance record to what each teacher is teaching, a daily record reaches parents," said Rita Kapoor, principal, DPSG. As parents are becoming more demanding, schools see it is an opportunity to grow. She adds, "If they demand more, we give more. If they are complacent, we are complacent."
The lack of city infrastructure,however, affects their working. Says Meeta Rai, principal, DPS Indirapuram, "In the morning and the afternoon, there is a huge traffic jam because the road is in shambles. I have written to all the concerned authorities possible, but it hasn't yielded results."
What parents want
"All branded schools are here. The brand name is important - in case you face peer pressure," said a mother who picked DPS Indirapuram for her son, capturing the essence of what school education means to many parents.
Anju Goyal, another parent, couldn't agree more. Her son, Vasu, is a class 12 student of DPS Indirapuram. "The DPS brand is doing really well. They are sprouting, spreading about and performing well."
But, parents who grew up in Ghaziabad as well have their loyalties in place. It's the old well-established schools of Ghaziabad for them.
Garima Garg has two daughters. Uttam's School for Girls was her obvious choice. “It's the best school for girls here,” she says. "They make my child feel more relaxed here than at home."
Kapoor sums up the basic demands that parents make. "In Ghaziabad, parents look at good results. Most importantly, they want the child to speak good English. Now, parents' demands set the target for teachers' performance."