Big reputation, celebrity alumni are hallmarks of schools ranked fourth to 10th in the HT-C fore Central Delhi top schools list, find Tenzin Nangsyal and Kamayani Singh
St Columba’s School
3,000 students, 140 teachers (approximately)
Academic rigour: Toppers of Class 10 and 12 for 2008-09 scored 94.8 per cent and 95.2 per cent, respectively.
Admission cost: Rs 2,000 (approximately) monthly, not including transport fees. The school, where classes begin from KG, does not charge a one-time admission fee.
Set up in 1941, St. Columba’s is one of the most popular schools in the capital. The school matches its quintessential convent values with new-age teaching methods.
The school website informs technology has been introduced in the curriculum of Classes 4, 5 and 6. The school has also introduced Smart Class Module, an innovating teaching prctice, in Classes 1 to 5.
Its list of alumni is sprayed with names of national and international celebrities. Shah Rukh Khan is a product of the school and so are model Rahul Dev, MTV VJ Cyrus Sahukar and lifestyle guru Deepak Chopra.
Says Dr Palash Sen, the lead singer of Euphoria, “It’s the greatest school in the whole world.” The school organises special assemblies to celebrate festivals of different faiths.
Springdales, Pusa Road
Academic rigour: Toppers of Class 10 and 12 for 2008-09 scored 94.8 per cent and 95.4 per cent, respectively.
No. of nursery admits: 90
Nursery cost: Rs 30,000 annually (approximately). Including admission fee, one time annual fee, tuition and other fees charged quarterly (excluding transport and food)
Springdales gives its junior children milk-and-fruit breaks. It encourages senior students to contribute to literacy drives. It has even set up activity groups, letting students express solidarity with the people of Africa, Palestine and other regions. With a very reasonable fee structure, it provides value for money unlike most schools.
“We try to give our students as much exposure as possible,” says the principal, Ameeta Mulla Wattal. “On one hand, we have a strong focus on community work and on the other we have exchange programmes with schools abroad.” Springdales has a unique assessment system. It doesn’t hold exams till Class 8 and uses grading system instead. “Grading helps acknowledge excellence without promoting competition,” says Nirmalya Samanta, a DU professor whose 11-year-old daughter studies at the school.
Convent of Jesus and Mary
Convent of Jesus and Mary has a proud list of alumnae. Prominent figures such as Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, Member of Parliament Agatha Sangma and Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s daughter Priyanka are products of the school.
It started out as a co-educational institute from a rented accommodation in 1923. Today, the girls’ school pays “special attention to the moral and social growth of students” besides the usual stress on academics.
The school especially focuses on its duties towards the poor and the marginalised. Children from nearby slums attend the afternoon school.
Taniya O’ Connor, a fashion designer and 2001 alumna, fondly remembers her school days. “I remember on Fridays we had to take an onion and a potato to school. The vegetables would be collected and offered to the poor.”
The school recently hosted a quiz competition organised by the Limca Book of Records and organisers of the Bournvita Quiz Contest. Games and sports are compulsory activities. Students are trained in yoga, karate and gymnastics, besides other sports.
Air Force Bal Bharti School
Academic rigour: Toppers of Class 10 and 12 for 2008-09 scored 96.2 per cent and 95.4 per cent, respectively.
Nursery cost: For air force wards: Rs 22,935 annually
For non-air force wards: Rs 39,180 annually
No. of nursery admits: 175
Air Force Bal Bharti School was established in 1955. Classes were held in barracks where a few students, mostly children of air force officers, came to study.
This is hard to believe considering there is an LCD screen in almost every classroom of the school today.
Power point presentations on LCD screens are frequently used to impart lessons.
“The school is also in the process of putting the syllabus and lessons online so that students can access it from home,” said Anand Swaroop, the school principal.
The school reserves almost 40 per cent of the seats in nursery admission for children of Air Force officers. “Though we have reservations, one of our strengths is we don’t represent any particular section of society. Our school is a melting pot...,” said Aadil Rai Mehra, the school head boy.
The school’s student-teacher ratio is 1:26, which means every teacher looks after 26 students.
St Thomas’ School
Academic rigour: Toppers of Classes 10 and 12 for 2008-09 scored 96 per cent and 96 per cent, respectively.
Nursery cost: Rs 17,000 (admission fee) and Rs 2,000 per month. These are last year’s figures
No. of nursery admits: 160
“I had always wanted to put my daughter in St. Thomas’ School because of its reputation,” says Anita Saha, whose daughter Mrinalini studies in Class 11.
“Not only does the school excel in academics, I am very happy the teachers here take special interest in the overall development of students.”
St. Thomas’ School, for girls, has always been on top of the academics game. The school website claims no student has failed in the school’s 77- year-old history.
The Thomas girls have also topped Humanities (in Class 12) in Delhi for five consecutive years.
The school, situated on Mandir Marg, has an illustrious list of alumnae including Mahatma Gandhi’s granddaughter Tara Bhattacharya, Justice Rekha Sharma, television journalist Anusuya Roy and fashion model Kanwal Toor.
The school is also heavily into community development with students from Classes 6 to 12 participating in multiple welfare projects.
Academic rigour: Toppers of Class 10 and 12 for 2008-09 scored 95.8 per cent and 93.7 per cent, respectively.
Nursery cost: No one time admission fee. Quarterly tuition fee of Rs 5,400
No. of KG admits: 100
Carmel Convent School in Chanakyapuri was founded in 1957 with 60 students, no furniture, no lights and no fan. It often had to depend on friends and benefactors for help.
Fifty-two years later, more than 1500 girls study in the school that ranks high in faculty competence.
“We recruit teachers who are committed and dedicated and have taken up teaching as a vocation rather than a profession,” says Sister Nirmalini, the principal.
There is one teacher for every 17 students here.
Extra-curricular activities are centred around various clubs — the quizzing club, the debating club, the theatre club, the environment club, the music club and the school magazine club. These activity groups give the girls a platform to explore possibilities outside academics. This reflects in the number of school alumni who are now in the field of art and culture.
Dancers such as Meenakshi Sheshadri and Arushi Mudgal, choreographer Shefali Talwar and designer Rashmi Virmani are products of this school.
Mater Dei School
Mater Dei school for girls was founded in 1956. The school was begun with the primary objective of providing education in a Christian atmosphere to all children.
“We at Mater Dei consider each pupil an individual. In a climate of mutual trust we help everyone to discover and cultivate her talents and to accept responsibility for one’s own development and growth,” is school principal Sister Irene’s message on the school’s website.
The school makes special efforts towards the moral, spiritual, intellectual, social and physical development of children, the website says.
“I have been studying here since Class 2 and have lots of friends now. I have also known all the teachers of the school for a long time and we now share a special bond,” says Sushmita Krishnamurthy, a Class 9 student.
“It is not only in terms of academics but also other areas in which we get help from the school. If we have any personal problem, our teachers are always ready to listen and then help us.”