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The Hogwartses of our times

Schools in Delhi are some of the best in the country. With admission time upon us, we take a look at which school could be the right fit for your child in your area. Abhijit Patnaik writes.

delhi Updated: Dec 18, 2011 22:32 IST
Abhijit Patnaik

It is a magical time for parents and children as they get ready to embark on a long journey in the world of learning. With nursery school admissions slated to begin in many schools in December and January, parents are looking across a wide variety of schools in Delhi to find that perfect fit for their child's needs.

Choosing a school, of course, is one of the most important decisions parents will make for their child. Keeping this in mind, Hindustan Times, along with knowledge partner C fore, has attempted to provide an evaluation of schools in Delhi, based on various parameters - sports, academics, infrastructure, individual attention to students, value-based education etc.

For this purpose, the 2011 HT-C fore Top School survey split Delhi into six zones - Central, East, West, North, South-East and South-West.

Familiar names such as The Shriram School, Vasant Vihar; Delhi Public School, RK Puram; Modern School, Barakhamba road make it to the top 10 in their respective zones, as one would expect. This year's results also threw up some new names compared to the 2010 survey- more so in some zones than others.

For example, the top 10 list of schools in West Delhi saw Mira Model school, Janakpuri and NK Bagrodia school, Dwarka dropping out of the top 10. Taking their place in the top 10 are Indraprastha International school, Dwarka and NC Jindal school, West Punjabi Bagh.

Similarly, in the South-West zone, Air Force Golden Jubilee, Subroto Park and Ryan International School, Vasant Kunj have faced the cull from the top 10, with St. Mary's School, Safdarjung enclave making it in the list for the first time. In the South-East zone, KR Mangalam is out, with Tagore International School, East of Kailash gaining a top 10 slot.

With a disparate choice of schools, parents look for a good academic record, excellent infrastructure, trained teachers- as well as a good brand. How important is the latter in picking a school today?

Brand conscious
Brand may not be the only factor in determining a parent's choice of school, but it certainly plays a part. It is a reality that schools recognise. Names such as DPS, Modern, Salwan, with their proven systems of education, have an additional value in the minds of parents.

And they are conscious of this value when they pay. "If you want the parents to put their child, and their trust, in your school, you must have a good brand," said Kiran Mehta,principal, Salwan Public School, Mayur Vihar Phase III.

Getting a brand name is not easy, and schools that acquire a brand name recognise that it comes with its trappings. Maintaining the standards- attention to students, activities, infrastructure - are all a constant endeavour of these schools.

"To reach the top is easy, to stay there is very difficult" said M.I Hussain, principal, DPS Mathura Road. "There is no blind following. Schools must deliver quality, value, worth."

Students agree. "It is a matter of prestige for us, studying in a DPS. The school sets certain high standards. I would say that being a Dipsite gives us an edge, in caps lock!" said Iqra Meraj, a student at DPS Mathura Road.

Race for 100%
In the dog-eat-dog world of college admissions, the past year saw cut-offs bordering on the ridiculous. Parents' concern for the future of their children translates into undue pressure on them during exam time. How are schools preparing their students for a world where good academic achievement may yet result in disappointment?

"We are concerned about this trend. Children get disillusioned despite good performances. It is leading to the trend of studying at foreign universities," said Sunita Tanwar, principal, DPS Dwarka.

Schools, for one, are helping their students think of the diverse options they have and are training them to pursue them as careers.

The pressure for marks has reduced with the introduction of the grading system in Class 10, but this needs to be forward integrated with class 12 and university admissions.

"Everybody can't be in IIT or AIIMS, and we train them that way. Knowledge and learning is more important," said Mehta. "The focus is on good all-round performance, so that students have a wide scope to choose from after Class 12," she added.

Editor's note: This time it's different

Dear Readers,
It's time for us to roll out the Top School survey that you have been eagerly waiting for. This time, however, we are making a departure from the past. While the methodology of the survey remains the same as it was last year, the results are being presented with a difference. We are not publishing individual scores and ranks for schools. Instead, we are naming the schools that have made it to the list of top 10, in an alphabetical order that has no correlation with individual ranks. Our decision to do so is based on the response the past editions of the Top School survey received from readers and other stakeholders. While many readers feel the ratings offer a helpful guide to parents seeking nursery admissions for their children, there have been strong suggestions to explore alternative ways to achieve the same objective. We are trying to do just that in the 2011 edition of the Top School survey. Instead of individual ranks and scores, we are highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of individual schools. Do send us your feedback on the new format. It will help us fine-tune the future editions of the survey.

Thank you.

Editor
Please send your feedback to research@hindustantimes.com