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Don’t always have to be old to win gold

It’s only 11 years old. Its first batch of Class 12 students passed out just seven years ago. It is so young, in fact, that its alumni base is still in its infancy. Yet, Sanskriti School was voted the best in Central Delhi by respondents of the HT-C fore survey, report Kamayani Singh and Tenzin Nangsyal.

delhi Updated: Nov 16, 2009 00:05 IST

Sanskriti School, Chanakyapuri

It’s only 11 years old. Its first batch of Class 12 students passed out just seven years ago. It is so young, in fact, that its alumni base is still in its infancy. Yet, Sanskriti School was voted the best in Central Delhi by respondents of the HT-C fore survey.

Established in 1998 by the Civil Services Society in Chanakyapuri, Sanskriti scored high in almost all fields — from competence of faculty to infrastructure provision.

“It was set up to cater to the needs of government officers whose children had trouble getting admission to good schools due to their frequent transfers,” said Abha Sahgal, the school’s principal.

Sixty per cent of seats in the school are reserved for children of government servants.

One reason why Sanskriti has succeeded in achieving so much in such little time could be the individual attention each student receives here. There is one teacher for every 12 students, a student-teacher ratio higher than what most other schools in the city offer.

The infrastructure at Sanskriti is, again, what very few schools can boast of. The school has four libraries, a swimming pool, a diving pool, ramps for disabled students, amphitheatres, music recording rooms and separate rooms for dancers.

The school also recycles and makes its own paper.

“One of Sanskriti’s strengths is its stress on extra curricular activities,” says Tanvie Vinayak (17), a Class 12 student.

But Sanskriti is also often criticised for its excessive focus on co-curricular activities. This in some ways, say critics of the school, takes away the focus from academics.

But Ritika Khera, 23, an alumnus of the school and now a student of S.P Jain Institute of Management and Research, Mumbai, has a different take.

“Sanskriti doesn’t focus more on extra curricular activities, it actually balances academics with co-curricular, which other schools forget to do,” she said.

“I scored over 90 per cent in my Class 12 but it was the extra curricular participation that gave me an edge in my college education and later in job and MBA interviews.”

Among some unique co-curricular activities that students must take part in is a mandatory village trip for Class 11 students.

“The trip was an eye opener and has inspired me to think about starting my own NGO one day,” said Vinayak, who had gone on the trip last year.

Where the day begins with a chat

Sharmila Malik, 46, interviewed for a job at Sanskriti School eight years ago.

She did not have a career in teaching to showcase. She did not even have a bachelor in education (B.Ed) degree.

But what she did have was a sound training in Maths, a background in business and the experience of teaching differently-abled children.

Sanskriti School promptly offered her the job. “I didn’t want to miss the opportunity of teaching at a school that not only encourages talent in its student body but also in its faculty,” said Malik, who completed her B.Ed after joining Sanskriti.

What set the school apart from rivals are its faculty and the strong focus its lays on student-and-teacher relationships.

“Of course, every teacher needs basic qualifications, but what we are looking for in a teacher is versatility, originality and a diverse yet sound background,” said Abha Sahgal, the principal.

A normal day at Sanskriti begins with an interactive period where students and teachers interact for half an hour on issues ranging from academics, exams, current affairs, society and personal life.

“The attention given to each student is so strong that parallel classes are held for students who are weak in a particular subject,” said Malik, who is now a senior math teacher at the school.

Sardar Patel Vidyalaya

You are your own competition,” says Sardar Patel Vidyalaya principal Anuradha Joshi, summarising the belief and spirit of the school in Lodi Estate.

A student’s performance is not all that counts here. They are judged on much finer points. In a 100-metre race, for instance, the school doesn't award only those students who have stood first, second and third. A time limit is set and anyone who crosses the mark within that time wins a prize.

Established in 1958, the school teaches also students to stay true to their Indian roots. This is reflected in the music form the school encourages. “Our specialty is Hindustani music. The school choir performs at many places across the city,” Joshi said.

To supplement their hobbies, students have a variety of instruments to choose from — sitar, tabla, harmonium, etc. It’s not surprising that individuals such as actress and director Nandita Das and actress Shahana Goswami are products of this school.

SPV, as it is commonly called, is probably the only private school in the Capital that teaches students in Hindi and English till the primary level.

Joshi said the objective was to produce young citizens who will not only be bilingual but equilingual in Hindi (“the national link language”) and English (“the international link language”).

Modern School

Few schools have more than 100 national-level sports players as students. Modern School does. Located on Barakhamba Road, the school’s sporting culture is as old as its 89-year-old history.

The junior section — Raghubir Singh Junior Modern School — has classes from nursery to Class 5 and is situated at Humayun Road.

“The sports department with its 15 member faculty apart from part-time coaches pushes the students to start playing sports from a young age,” said Meena Joshi, head of department of sports, at the school on Barakhamba Road.

The sports infrastructure at the school includes an Olympic-size swimming pool, six tennis courts, six basketball courts, a gymnasium with table tennis facility, squash courts, athletic track other than facilities for hockey, football and cricket.

The infrastructure at the school, apart from the one available for sports, needs some improvement though. “We would like to improve our infrastructure in the coming months by creating more amphitheatres and student centres open to the sky,” said Lata Vaidyanathan, principal, Modern School, Barakhamba Road.