The Guptas moved to Gurgaon from Varanasi in 2002. “The change from a small town to a buzzing city was overwhelming,” said Shrey Gupta, a third-year B.Com (Honours) student of Delhi University. Gupta’s father quit his business in Varanasi and set up a placement firm for information technology companies operating out of Gurgaon.
His mother gave up teaching to join the thriving business process outsourcing sector in the ‘millennium city’ adjoining Delhi. Gupta and his brother joined The Shri Ram School, Aravali, which topped the HT-C fore survey featuring Gurgaon’s best schools.
The story of the Gupta family reflects the progress of Gurgaon — from a nondescript cluster of villages in Haryana to the promised land that now houses offices of scores of multinational companies.
With the liberalisation of the economy in 1990s, real-estate developers such as DLF, which owned large tracts of land in the area, sought to cash in the opportunity that came with a surge in demand for office space and residential houses in the national capital region.
Because of its proximity to the Delhi airport, Gurgaon became a favoured destination for MNCs such as General Electric, IBM and Microsoft looking to expand operations in India.
With that came the need for residential complexes to house employees of those companies. “When residential colonies were being set up by the developers, they had to provide for social infrastructure like schools and hospitals to their residents,” said Col (Retd) Prithvi Nath, honorary secretary of the Real Estate Developers Council, Haryana.
“That is when a lot of schools began to be built.” In the 1980s, there were only a few reputed schools such as Blue Bells Model (started in 1980), DAV Public School (1985) and Summer Fields (1987).
But with the developers tapping into the demand for schools, the late 1990s saw a rapid increase in the number of schools in Gurgaon. Salwan Public School came up in 1996 while The Shri Ram School was set up in 2000.
Other big names such as Delhi Public School (2002) and Amity International (2003) also opened their branches.
Among the new entrants were The Heritage School (2002), Shikshantar (2003) and Suncity School (2006). Good infrastructure, personalised attention, stress on co-curricular activities, innovative teaching methods — the schools gave Gurgaon residents the kind of education they wanted for their children.
The other unique feature in the evolutionary history of schools in Gurgaon is a large number of schools offering international curricula and certificates, catering to children of MNC employees, NRIs and expatriates.