When Vaishali Sonwalkar shifted to Delhi from Mumbai in 2006 after her husband’s transfer, she was looking for a school that would encourage her daughters’ various talents and not just focus on learning by rote.
After her daughters’ unsatisfactory stint in a school near her society in Indraprastha Extension in east Delhi, she started looking for other options when her friend suggested Ryan International, Mayur Vihar phase 3.
Her daughters, Shubhada (Class 5) and Shamita (Class 1), have been studying at Ryan since 2008. “I am happy with their progress. Apart from concentrating on academics, the school offers a lot of extra-curricular activities ensuring an all-round focus,” said Sonwalkar, a homemaker. “I find the teachers well trained too.”
For many parents like her, an education focusing on holistic development of their children is of utmost importance. Agreed Sabaya Banerjee, another resident of Indraprastha Extension for last 10 years. “During interaction with teachers at the time of admission of my son, it was the teachers from Amity who gave me the confidence that my child would benefit with something more then a mere education.”
His son Shourya, now studying in Class 7 at the Amity International School, Mayur Vihar phase 1, does not even want to think of leaving the school to join somewhere else.
Sonwalkar and Banerjee exemplify the essential character that today is east Delhi. But things were different earlier. For years, the trans-Yamuna area of the national capital looked at its southern counterparts for everything from schools to shopping to entertainment. “Sixteen years ago when my daughter was to be admitted to nursery, there were hardly any public school in the area. So I sent her and then later my son to a Srinivaspuri school,” said Sanjay Bhargava, Mayur Vihar 1 resident.
However, after the cooperative housing societies in Mayur Vihar came up in phases and Indraprastha Extension started developing in the late 1970s and early 1980s, things started changing. These areas clubbed with colonies such as Preet Vihar, Anand Vihar and Swasthya Vihar emerged as a major hub for professionals, many of whom migrated to Delhi from other parts of the country. And Laxmi Nagar, Krishna Nagar and Gandhi Nagar, the traditional commercial centres, added to the area’s profile.
Sensing the right opportunity, schools from south and central Delhi started opening branches here. Newer schools recognising the growing requirement for good education cashed in too. Today, east Delhi has schools and educational institutions that can stand in competition with any elite south Delhi school. For instance, DAV Public School, Shreshtha Vihar has more than 50 e-pathshalas (classrooms) equipped with audio-visual projectors and multimedia learning aids for students of class 6 to 12.
Moreover, schools here use state-of-the-art technology to help teachers make most of their skills, and put equal emphasis on co-curricular activities and sports. “My school believes in hands-on experience for every activity rather than bookish knowledge,” said Pramod K Bhatnagar, manager of Ahlcon Public School, Mayur Vihar phase 1. “We also have special coaching academies for football and cricket, with one international faculty as football coach among the several on roll.”
The school has sent its French teacher, Chavi Gupta, to France for a teacher’s study project, he added.
Recognising the need to impart global education, several schools have educational exchange programmes. Almost every school offers its students an eclectic range of activities, including robotics and language labs, eco-clubs, multi-media clubs, fine arts and music clubs, and astronomy clubs. East Delhi schools are catching up with their counterparts in other parts of Delhi.