As the year winds down , it is time to bring out a report card of schools in the National Capital Region (NCR).
The 2011 edition of the Hindustan Times- C fore Top School survey evaluated schools across the length and breadth of the NCR— Noida, Ghaziabad, Gurgaon and Faridabad (which appeared in the HT in September, 2011) as well as six zones in Delhi. The 14 parameters were diverse and exhaustive — from academic rigour, extra-curricular activities, competence of teachers to life-skills education and value for money, among others.
In a wrap up of the Top School survey, we have compiled a list of the 20 schools with the highest scores across all regions.If it comes to a Delhi versus the rest of NCR contest, the Capital is still the epicentre of quality education, with 12 of these schools situated here. But schools in satellite towns are proving to be tough competition, with four Gurgaon schools, three in Noida and one in Ghaziabad making it to the top 20. Not surprisingly, different branches of the Delhi Public School find a place in the top billings. Both branches of Springdales School (Pusa Road and Dhaula Kuan) as well as The Shri Ram School (Vasant Vihar and Aravali, Gurgaon) have earned a top 20 slot.
The strengths of each school vary, from academic honours at the Delhi Public School, to innovative teaching styles at schools such as Mother's International, world-class infrastructure at Sanskriti School and Modern School, Barakhamba Road and competent teachers at Vasant Valley School, Step by Step and The Shri Ram School.
Technology has made swift inroads into the classroom in the last ten years as teachers and school administrators incorporate it in their teaching methods. Smart classes are almost a must in every school, offering students new perspectives.
Of course, costs have risen as well. Barely ten years ago, school fees fluctuated within the range of Rs 20,000. Now, the top 20 schools have nursery fees ranging from Rs 30,000 to over a lakh per year.
Parents are not only demanding more, they have become discerning as well and schools are happily obliging.
"Earlier, when parents put their child in school, it was like posting a letter. They were sure it would reach its destination. But now, parents know what they want and we welcome it as it keeps us on our toes," said M I Hussain, principal, DPS, Mathura Road.
The definition of what makes a good school is changing as well. While most top 20 schools have performed well in the 'academic rigour' and 'extra-curricular activities' categories — traditional yardsticks to judge a school's excellence — they also have high scores on the 'individual attention to students', 'innovative teaching' and 'life skills education' parameters, signalling that change is underway.
The introduction of the CCE last year still sparks debates, with arguments both for and against it. But there is unanimous agreement as far as reducing the pressure faced by students is concerned. "Pressure exists when students are pushed to perform beyond their capabilities. We push only those areas where they show calibre. The stress levels drop automatically," said Suman Nath, principal, Tagore International School, East of Kailash.