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Parents’ pride, kids’ paradise

Sardar Patel Vidyalaya is one of the few schools in Delhi that take care to remain rooted in their tradition in spite of the changing times. Established in 1958, the school is perhaps the only private school in Delhi that uses both Hindi and English as medium of instruction up to Class 5, after which it starts teaching in English.

delhi Updated: Dec 21, 2010 00:56 IST

Focus on natural growth of child
Sardar Patel Vidyalaya is one of the few schools in Delhi that take care to remain rooted in their tradition in spite of the changing times. Established in 1958, the school is perhaps the only private school in Delhi that uses both Hindi and English as medium of instruction up to Class 5, after which it starts teaching in English.
The school has scored low on infrastructure and facilities but is trying to expand its infrastructure to accommodate new labs, teacher resource centres and special learning units.
“We are working on expanding the infrastructure of the school, but even that expansion is within our larger philosophy and we are not building anything ostentatious,” said Anuradha Joshi, principal, Sardar Patel Vidyalaya.
This is why the school doesn’t believe in giving ranks in any academic exam or sport and co-curricular event. Instead, it sets a mark for what it feels qualifies as achievement in any competition, and all students who cross that mark are honoured with a certificate. The school has scored ahead of others on academic rigour and life skills education.

Maintaining inclusivity
Two years ago when it was announced that Class 10 students would receive grades and not marks in the boards, schools, students and parents took time to adjust and understand the new system. At Springdales, the grading system came naturally. Up to Class 8, the school uses a grading system to assess the students.
The school has a tradition of maintaining inclusivity in education and welcomes students with special needs. Students with dyslexia, cerebral palsy and physically challenged children are enrolled as a part of its inclusive education programme.
Apart from scoring well on academic rigour, the school also scores well in social accountability, extra-curricular activity, life-skills education, value for money and innovative teaching.
The school has a strong focus on community work and students of Class 11 and Class 12 have allotted periods in which they do only community work. Springdales, Pusa Road, spends R3 lakh per annum on its teacher training and has a teacher resource centre in Mussoorie that doubles up as holiday home for students and members of the faculty.
Besides this, the school also has a work experience farm in Chhattarpur, where children learn about working with the soil and community living.

Innovative teaching methodology
Established in 1941, St. Cloumba’s is probably the most well known and the oldest all boys school in Delhi.
This school, with approximately 3,000 students and 150 teachers, is beginning to experiment with several new teaching methods now and not surprisingly scores well on the parameter of innovative teaching.
The school has been trying to experiment with its teaching methods and has introduced a smart class module apart from introducing technology in the curriculum of classes fourth, fifth and sixth.
The school is also known to actively participate in sport competitions and has several national level players as its students. “Traditionally, all boys schools have excelled in sports,” said Abhishek Malik, an alumnus of the school, who now lives in Mumbai. “However, the encouragement given to cultural activities and performing arts and the development of the so called softer skills is where the school scores over other all boys schools.” The encouragement I got in school is responsible for me becoming a graphic designer and an aspiring ad-filmmaker today, Malik said.

All-round achiever
Established in 1953, Salwan Public School has more than 2,000 students on its ten-acre campus. The school offers various basic facilities for sports such as cricket, basketball, football, badminton and lawn tennis. Taekwondo and archery are also taught here.
Salwan has maintained a 100% result in classes 10 and 12 and spends about
Rs 2.30 lakh on its teacher-training programme each year for 99 full-time teachers. The school scores higher than some other schools in safety and hygiene, individual attention to students and infrastructure.
“Salwan believes in giving attention to all its students,” said N. Sharma, former principal, Salwan Public School. “In my 35 years at the school I saw it make transitions to computerised classes and remedial classes for weak students.” The school has a close-knit alumni network that meets regularly.
“Salwan has a strong and active alumni network and one would often find ex-students reaching out to each other,” said Sanjay Manchanda, a student of the 1981 batch and one of the first sleep therapists of India.

A proud legacy
With a long list of eminent alumni — such as Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit, Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, union minister of state for rural development Agatha Sangma and theatre personality Bubbles Sabharwal — Convent of Jesus and Mary has created a rare legacy.
However, the school is coming to terms with rapidly changing times.
“It is very difficult to deal with girls these days because of certain changes in the society, new upcoming technology and increasing western influence,” said Sister Janet, principal of the school for the last three years.
The school considers its strong value system its USP. Convent of Jesus and Mary scores well on value for money, social accountability and academic rigour. However, extra-curricular activities, sports and individual attention to students need to improve.
The school is increasingly using technology in various fields. It has started EduCom Solution, a programme geared towards making every class computerised by using tech-savvy teaching methods.

Taking the lead
International level double trap shooter Vikram Bhatnagar believes his school played a crucial role in his success at the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games.
“The school encouraged a balance between sports and academics,” said Bhatnagar, who was a three-time national champion in junior skating while in school.
Bhatnagar feels that schools such as Manav Sthali can encourage more people to pursue sports professionally and he is hoping to see more students from his school taking to sports.
Apart from sports, this 52-year-old school has been focusing on involving children in environmental projects. The school also has several programmes in place geared towards personality development of the students. It has scored high on parameters of sports, parental participation and innovative teaching but falls behind in academic rigour and social accountability. “At Manav Sthali, we encourage our students to question us,” said Mamta Bhatnagar, founder principal of the school.

Bridging the gap
Mater Dei was started in 1956 by the Sisters of Franciscan Missionaries of Mary. In a unique initiative, the school focuses on bridging the gap between rural and urban living. Mater Dei girls have increasingly been interacting with children from tribal areas of Chhattisgarh to understand their lives and problems better. Students are also encouraged to spend time in Delhi’s slum areas.
The school has scored well on academic rigour, value for money and social accountability. “We want to sensitise our students to realities of the grass root and create social awareness in them,” said Sister Irene Mathias, principal of the school. The school excels in nurturing talent in the performing arts, but falls behind other schools in sports and infrastructure. The alumni of the school, however, feel that stress on discipline is what makes the school not only unique but also helps students achieve their goals in the long run.

Keeping up with changing times
St. Thomas, an all-girls-school, was founded in 1930 by an English missionary. “In the last 80 years the biggest challenge for St. Thomas has been to reinvent itself, without compromising our ideals of value-based education, to meet the needs of a society in which both the place and role of women has rapidly changed,” said Anuradha Amos, principal, St. Thomas School.
The school is trying to become a ‘green’ school by turning to recycling and planting of different trees and herbs within its campus.
It also has a strong tradition of performing arts particularly theatre and musicals. “We want to take steps to make theatre a part of curriculum,” Amos said.
The school is also working on increasing the exposure of its students by sending them on exchange programmes. Last year some of the girls went on an exchange programme to a school in the UK. Next year the school will tie up with a school in Canada.
The school scored well on academic rigour, value for money and social accountability.

Other Schools to watch out for

Air Force Bal Bharti School
Promising 100% CBSE pass results and surplus recreational infrastructure, Air Force Bal Bharti School has been in the league of premier schools for 60 years. It has 50% of 185 seats for nursery admissions open to the general public and the remaining reserved for the Air Force category. For civilians, the fee is around R36,000 annually in the first year.

Bal Bharti Public School
Started in 1944, the Bal Bharti Public School offers 368 (239 for general category) seats for nursery admission, with an annual fee of Rs 33,960.

Bharti Public School
This 30-year-old school is currently offering seats in nursery, with an annual fee of Rs 32,520 for the first year.

GD Salwan Public School
Focusing on the traditional guru-shishya concept of imparting education since its inception in 1990, the school has classes from nursery to 11. The school is offering 80 seats for nursery (including 15% economically weaker sections and staff quota) at annual fees of Rs 36,140.

Ramjas School
Essentially a senior school (classes 6-12), it opened in 1971 under the Ramjas Foundation. The school has focused on academics with 100% results in board examinations.

Sneh International School
It has 125 (inclusive of 15% economically weaker sections quota) seats available for nursery admission.