Armed with scholarships and admission guarantees to top universities, Britain’s leading boarding schools are coming to India to enrol high school students here.
Twelve boarding schools from the UK recently formed a federation to register 11 to 16-year-old Indian students. St Bees and St Christopher’s are members of the federation.
The federation will unveil its website and the names of the schools by November-end. It is expected to conduct tests — on proficiency in English, maths and general knowledge — in February 2014 in 15 cities, including Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, and Ahmedabad.
Currently, 100 students from India are enrolled in British residential schools. “We want more Indian students as they are bright, hard-working and have a strong moral and social perspective,” says David Boddy, principal of Anglo Schools International Services that managed the federation.
The federation has announced scholarships worth Rs. 2 crore. Some schools are offering full scholarships (over £100,000) or covering the boarding fee while others are offering fee discounts. Fee details aren’t yet available, but sources said costs would be 10-15% higher than in top international schools in India. Singapore International School in Mumbai, for instance, has an annual fee of Rs. 6.5 lakh.
Apart from scholarships, the schools are using their “college preparation” programmes for Oxbridge as a hook. “The aim is to offer senior school places to those who want a better guarantee of entry to a top university,” said Richard Palmer, headmaster, St Christopher’s School.
British schools aren’t the first to look for Indian students. In 2010, The Associa-tion of Boarding Schools — representing 40 institutions in Canada, the US and Europe — had visited India.