The main thing (about Mother’s International) is simplicity,” says Jhumur Mukherjee, whose son passed out of Mother’s International School and daughter still studies there.
“Children sit on mats when doing painting and other activities in primary school. There are no air-conditioned classrooms. Some people might take it as a drawback. But it works for us.”
Mukherjee is not the only one to praise the school’s “strong value system”. When a parent, who did not want to be identified, moved from Kolkata to New Delhi, she wanted her child to retain cultural values she felt would be lacking in the capital.
“Apart from education, values are very important,” she said. On recommendation from a friend, she chose Mother’s International. Today, she is more than satisfied with the emphasis the school gives to such things as “respect for elders”.
During their summer vacation, senior students can opt to teach under-privileged children in the Matri Karuna Vidyalaya, an institute within the school. Parents are also happy the school does not seek donations and the administration remains “very transparent”.
Stress-free learning and a “down to earth” attitude in teaching are some other values parents appreciate about the school.
“It’s fun going to school. There’s never been any restrictions. If you are good at something, even if they don’t have it (the concerned facility), they’ll support you,” said a senior school student who did not want to be identified.
This student was a tennis buff, a sport not offered at Mother’s International. But the school informs him of any inter-school competitions she can participate in.
The focus on co-curricular activities means activities like clay modelling are compulsory for students in junior classes. Other activities include puppetry, painting, batik design, taekwondo and recitation.
But some parents feel there is room for improvement, particularly in sports. One parent feels “sports activity is missing” in the school and there is not enough one-on-one interaction between teachers and students.
A student feels some teachers discourage interaction between boys and girls, and would like them to be less conservative.
The school should also integrate more computer-based learning, like other schools, another teacher suggests.
Due to the student-teacher ratio (maximum of 40 students per class), most students, the school claims, do not need to opt for private tuitions. The school’s academic track record, in a way, also reflects the benefits of the student-teacher ratio.
1) Mother's International School
Academic rigour: Toppers of Class 10 and 12 for 2008-09 scored 97.2 per cent and 96 per cent, respectively
Nursery cost: Admission fees of Rs 200; annual fees of Rs 37,425 (approximately). It includes one time admission fee, annual charges, development fees and tuition fees (excludes transport and food)
No. of nursery admits: 60 (for
If she had to, Nidhi Arora (22) says, she would do it all over again. “I found the best people over there,” she says, speaking of Mother’s International School.
Arora joined Mother’s International in Class 2 and finished school in 2005. Shy at first, she grew comfortable speaking in public thanks to the recitation classes in school. Mother’s International also inspired in her a love for the arts, something she pursues till today.
“I used to make sketches on the back of my books, just ‘random designing’” she says. Now, working for an HR consulting firm, she analyses compensation for Fortune 500 companies. But she still makes time out for ‘random designing’. “That’s something I got from my school. They focus a lot on arts and creative fields.” In the morning assembly, prayers, choir singing, recitation and meditation were and still are a regular feature.
“You miss all that and you want to go back,” she says. If there is one thing Arora could change, it would be the school’s focus on sports. “They don’t have skating, which I would have loved to do. They didn’t have hockey as well, when I was studying there,” she said. But that does not deter Arora from proclaiming: “I would like my child to go to Mother’s International too.”
Amity International, Saket
Academic rigour: Toppers of Class 10 and 12 for 2008-09 scored 98 per cent and 96.25 per cent, respectively
Nursery cost: Rs 36, 700 (approx) including annual fee, development fee and fee for one quarter. Quarterly fee: Rs 8,550 (approx)
No. of nursery admits: 105
One thing that instantly strikes you about Amity International, Saket, is the chemistry between teachers and students. The school puts a lot of premium on academics and boasts of a faculty that very few schools can match.
The school seeks to constantly evaluate and reinvent its classroom teaching strategies. Almost every day students work in groups and make power point presentations on subject-specific topics. Parents are also invited for such presentations.
“We are particular about choosing our faculty. What we look for in our teacher is not just knowledge, but commitment and creativity,” says Bharti Sharma, the principal who seems to know every student by name.
“We want to make sure every child is a success story. Every year our children make it to prestigious universities like Stanford, Wharton and MIT.”
In fact, the school’s SpaceSet Team comprising 12 students was declared finalists for the International Space Settlement Design Competition at NASA’s Johnson Space Centre in Houston in 2007.
3) Delhi Public School, Mathura road
Academic rigour: Toppers of Class 10 and 12 for 2008-09 scored 97 per cent and 96.2 per cent, respectively
Nursery cost: A one-time admission fee of Rs 725, Annual fee of Rs 37,930 (approximately). It includes one time admission fee, annual charges and tuition fees (excludes transport and food)
No. of nursery admits: 245
Montek Singh Ahluwalia and Salman Khurshid studied in this school. It began from a tent. Today, its infrastructure is arguably the best among all southeast Delhi schools.
Known for its academic rigour, the school doesn’t leave any child behind.
Academically weak students are identified right after their first term exams and remedial classes held for their benefit.
Manju Mehra, a teacher at DPS for 28 years, says, “Our Class 10 and 12 boards’ average has increased from 65 per cent to 85 per cent over the years.”
Critics say the school focuses too much on winning — in sports and in academics.
Even bright students are tested to find ways in which they can perform better. Pre-primary students, used to activity-based learning, take time adjusting to such a formal learning setup, when they move to Class 1.
(Profiles of the remaining 7 schools will be published tomorrow)