My first school had seven teachers and six rooms. One of those asbestos-roofed rooms doubled up as the head master’s office and staff lounge, while the rest held students from Class 1 to Class 5. A small courtyard, which split the rooms into two rows, was used for playing during recess.
There was no library, no cricket ground, no fan in the classroom and no bookrack. There were no subject experts; everyone taught everything at this government school in a remote part of southwestern Orissa.
Was it a good school?
Well, my parents never got to ask that question, because there was no other school there. That’s how it is for most Indian parents and their children, even today.
But parents like us, and our children, aren’t that lucky. In cities such as ours, schools are many but not enough, and getting to pick the one you want is as good as winning a lottery. Worse, your child’s school is as much a status symbol as the house you live in, the clothes you wear, or the car you drive. Even after you have spared every effort to make sure your child gets into the best possible school, your worries don’t end. From ever-escalating fees to the burden of a poor feedback at parent-teacher meetings, there is much to keep you anxious and you keep asking: Is this the right school? I have been through this dilemma, so have my friends.
When someone seeks my advice on a good school, I say: whichever school your child gets into, or is happy with, is the best in town.
But this advice works only when the child applies or makes it to one school, which is not always the case. Applications are often made at multiple schools and there are multiple choices, therefore.
The Top Schools survey from Hindustan Times is an attempt to help parents battling such multiplicity of choices. Based on parameters suggested by a panel of experts in education, the survey seeks to rank schools in your area.
No rating of this nature can ever be perfect, and we don’t claim ours to be so. The rankings are at best indicative of how the schools stack up. And your child’s school doesn’t cease to be the best school for him or her even if it doesn’t feature on this list.