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High standards and even higher fees

india Updated: Sep 20, 2011 17:32 IST
Zehra Kazmi

One of the biggest worries for parents in Noida used to be putting their child on a bus all the way to a good school in Delhi. But times have changed.

“We didn’t want our son to travel long hours, especially in the summer,” said Manju Minhas, whose son studies at Army Public School, Noida. “All the branches of good schools are here now and are doing well.”

While parents no longer furrow their brows over the distance problem, other concerns abound. They may not push their children into the 90% plus rat-race, but do want them to be equipped to compete in a world of super-heroes and super-achievers. “Marks are not the only thing, there should be all-round personality development,” said Abroh Sen, an IT professional whose children study at Cambridge School.

In the last two decades, Noida has become a hub for affluent professionals. New schools have mushroomed, ensuring that ambitious parents are spoilt for choice, or some might say, simply spoilt. Many are choosing ‘fancy’ schools, with air-conditioned campuses, hi-tech classrooms and professional training in everything from art to yoga— and of course, a high fee. “I had a choice between a school with 50 children in a class and one that has only 23,” said Samina Mishra, whose son studies in the sixth grade at Step by Step School (which tops in the ‘innovative teaching’and ‘individual attention given to children’ categories).

“When the fee is high, there is an automatic segregation as only few can afford it, which makes me uncomfortable,” she added, pointing out a disturbing trend in many schools.

Affluent or not, parents’ ambitions for their children converge. Ask Mishra what she wants from her son’s education and she gives an answer that will draw a smiling nod of approval from most parents. “I just want my kid to figure out what he likes to do, and find a way to do that well.”