We are very pleased to present to readers the fourth HT Top Schools Survey. As we did last year, we have refined the methodology to reflect our own deepening understanding of the issues and by incorporating sensible suggestions from readers. See ‘Methodology’ for further details.
We hope that the survey will help parents with one of the most significant decisions they will take on behalf of their children: selecting a school. Along with the rankings, we have profiles of the top schools in each zone followed by a series of articles that capture key education trends in the city.
We think that the entire series will help not only newcomers to Mumbai but also parents who have lived here all their lives. This is because city schools are rapidly transforming.
First, over the past year, Indian policy makers have ushered in radical changes in curricula across boards to make it more student-centric and less marks oriented.
Second, international boards are rapidly making inroads in to city schools, raising the cost of education but also ushering in innovative and wider approaches to learning and teaching.
Finally, many of today’s generation of highly conscious parents want to be closely involved with their children’s lives at school: they want a lot of information about what goes on at school not only before sending their children there but also afterwards. They would like a school that suits these aspirations.
This series takes into account these key shifts in schooling and parenting.
Bombay International School
Gilbert Building, Babulnath
History: In 1962, a group of parents came together and founded the school based on the idea of education as an unstructured process.
Unique features: Students have access to a variety of indoor and outdoor sports facilities. Students can be part of various clubs including dance, current affairs, books, film appreciation and photography.
“Our students learn through inquiry and experience, which challenges their minds. They are exposed to a diverse range of learning activities, and are encouraged to appreciate varied cultural backgrounds. We also inculcate a spirit of compassion and cooperation that ensures holistic development of the child.”
— Mona Seervai, principal
Cooperage Road, Fort
History: Campion School was founded in 1943, by the Jesuits.
Unique features: The school has 140 computers connected to an internal network of projectors in every classroom. Most teachers have laptops. The school launched the Jesuit Certificate Programme for Classes 7 to 10 last year, an optional programme for credits through extra-curriculars.
“We appreciate the importance of co-curricular activities along with intellectual growth. Each student must have the opportunity to reach his full potential and become a successful part of society.”— paul machado, principal
GD Somani Memorial School
625, Cuffe Parade
History: The school was established in 1975 by industrialists BD Somani and GD Somani with 250 students.
Unique features: The school has IT teaching systems and 3-D projectors in every classroom. Teachers use animation modules. A combination of play way method, projects and assignments is used.
“We recognise the need for communication between school and home. Only when teachers, students, parents and others work together, can a child grow into an adult who displays sensitivity, integrity, good citizenship and respect for human diversity.”
— Brian Seymour, principal
JB Petit High School For Girls
5, Maharshi Dadhichi Marg, Fort
History: Established in 1860 by an English woman, JB Petit School was originally known as Miss Prescott’s Fort Christian School. In 1946, the school was renamed after the man who gave it a new lease of life.
Unique features: The school won the International School Award from the British Council for fostering international dimensions in its curriculum. Students participate in a conflict resolution camp, ‘Seeds of Peace’ held in the US every year.
“There is an incredible buzz at JB Petit. We emphasise creativity, instill a sense of confidence and do not want to churn out academic robots. Ours is a happy school.” — Binaifer Kutar, principal
Navy Children School
Block VII Navy Nagar, Colaba
Junior School (Class 1 & 2): 4th Pasta Lane, Colaba
History: The school was commissioned on November 14, 1989. It is run by the Navy Education Society and administered under the Western Naval Command.
Unique features: The school provides facilities for sports such as basketball, football, cricket, handball and table tennis. It also has facilities for carpentry, pottery and a science park and ‘tara mandal’. The school organises seven annual days to ensure every student is seen on stage.
“What gives me the greatest joy is to see children graduate from the portals of NCS with their heads held high and their basic human values intact.”
— Girija Singh, principal
Queen Mary School
VP Road, Grant Road (East)
History: The school, started in 1875 by Harriet Butt, was called the Bombay Indian Female Normal School. The school premises shifted from Byculla to Mazgaon and finally to Girgaum. Its name was changed to Queen Mary School in 1912.
Unique features: The school secured the second place at EUMIND (Europe Meets India), an international programme. An ex-student represented India in the 2011 Commonwealth Games in synchronised swimming.
“We believe in the holistic development of each student. Just as the heart speaks, the intellect discerns and the body executes, we work in synergy to light up lives for a better tomorrow.” — Grace Mathias, principal
St Mary’s School (ICSE)
St Mary’s School (ICSE), Mazagaon
History: St Mary’s began as a missionary school in 1864. Initially, the school only preached Catholicism, but soon began focusing on all-round education.
Unique features: The school has one of the largest campuses in Mumbai with a sports ground, auditorium and two gymnasiums. The school encourages social service and has an exchange programme with a tribal school.
“The primary objective of school education must be all-round development of a child along the basic dimensions of a human being — academic, spiritual, social, emotional and physical, so as to draw out the full potential of each child before they leave school.”
— Father Kenneth Misquitta, principal
St Xavier’s Boys Academy
15, New Marine Lines
History: In the mid-1950s, Father Sologran, a Jesuit priest, convinced the local police to relocate a proposed police station at Marine Lines. In 1957, a school and college were established there.
Unique features: Education is modelled on the Ignatian Pedagogical Paradigm, which is rooted in self-reflection as the basis of schooling. The school has a four-day exchange programme with a tribal school in Nashik for Class 9 students.
“At SXBA, we strive to be an institute where learning is enjoyable, resulting in all-round excellence and commitment to social justice."
— Preema Noronha, principal
The Cathedral & John Connon School
6, Purshottamdas Marg, Fort
History: The Angelo Scottish Education Society founded in 1860, later became the Cathedral and John Connon School. It became a co-educational in 1965.
Unique features: Cathedral was the first school in the country to hold a Model United Nations, which is in its 16th year and entirely organised by students. The school’s 80-member strong choir is one of the oldest in the city. Students are selected on the basis of highly competitive trials.
“We keep students at the focal point of all activities. We recognise the need to ‘walk the talk’ in order to make a lasting impression on young minds.”
— Meera Isaacs, principal
Villa Theresa School
History: The school was founded at its present location at Peddar Road in 1932 by the Mumbai Franiscan Missionaries of Mary Society.
Unique features: The school has a language laboratory where students are taught correct pronunciation and diction. The school conducts extra-curricular activities for its students such as field trips, social service work and leadership sessions.
“Our students always respond well to new ideas or initiatives taken by the school. Although we focus on learning through technology, we realise the importance of imparting knowledge through value.” — Sister Rani Anthony, principal