The story of Gurgaon’s rise is well known. As the dusty Haryana hamlet took a giant economic leap in the 90s, joining the great Indian quest for growth, it became home to malls, BPOs and corporate boardrooms.
The growth also fanned the ambition of the people — especially parents, who sought as glitzy a future for their children as the malls they bought their groceries from.
The schools did not disappoint.
Curriculums mirrored the change as a host of institutions emerged offering ‘global education standards’.
The task of evaluating the views of over 200 parents and teachers for the HT-C fore school survey was, therefore, tough but also interesting. The conflict of perceptions (this-one-is-better-than-that-one) was intense.
But at the end of it all, when the score sheet (see table) was compiled,
Shri Ram School stood at the top of the chart.
Established in 1995, the school situated on Moulsari Avenue came across as jovial and smart when we paid a visit. The International Peace Day celebrations were on.
Students — most of them clad in white kurtas — expressed their concern about international conflicts through words, songs, skits and a slideshow. Candles were lit and balloons, carrying the message of peace, were released.
The school “buzzes with excitement and activity” every day, is what a group of smiling girls told us. “That’s what sets it apart from other schools.”
Reba Mukherji, the school’s librarian who looks over a collection of 22,000 books and has been with the school for 14 years, says she cannot imagine working anywhere else. “This place is happening. The pulse is of the times.”
The students in turn brag about the teachers — “they are simply awesome”.
Sports captain Bhavya Bishnoi (Class 11), says: “We have the most brilliant and friendly teachers.”
The school, that actively discourages competition and does not believe in ranking one better than the other, has an impressive student-teacher ratio of 10:1. This essentially means that one teacher is responsible for the overall growth of only 10 students, an aspect that helped Shri Ram notch the highest score in the survey’s ‘individual attention’ segment.
Geography teacher Madhur Usgaonkar says not only teachers but “the principal, too, is accessible”.
“The students can walk up anytime and talk to her,” Usgaonkar says. He also serves as the activities in-charge of the school that considers voluntary service an important part of the curriculum.
Kirat Singh, a Class 12 humanities student, has been a wildlife enthusiast since his junior school days.
“I went to Ranthambhor as part of a group to rehabilitate a tribe that was once engaged in tiger poaching.”
He returned to score 95 per cent in his Class 10 ICSE boards.
That’s Shri Ram school in a nutshell.
From infrastructure to arts: A good show
One of Shri Ram School’s main focus is encouraging creativity. The art room — the most beautiful corner of the school — proves it. The walls are lined with students’ paintings and other works of art.
The school has its own cricket ground, a basketball court, a football ground, a swimming pool and lawn tennis and badminton courts.
The school offers (compulsory) lunch to students and teachers. The school building has ramps instead of staircases. There is a section for children with special needs. Every week, a double period is devoted to theatre, which is compulsory for all students.