The Hyderabad Public School, here in Begumpet, near the old airport is arguably a top school in academics in the state.
But with its 130 acres of a green campus in the heart of the city with the main building, a heritage structure, constructed by the Nizam of Hyderabad in 1923 and a rich crop of students who became world class bosses, the HPS is undoubtedly the best in its class.
Satya Nadella, the brand new Microsoft CEO, is only the latest to join an elite group.
Shantanu Narayen, CEO, Adobe Systems, Prem Watsa, CEO, Fairfax Financial Holdings, Karan Billimoria, chairman, Cobra Beer from the corporate world, Andhra Pradesh CM Kiran Reddy, HRD minister M Pallamraju from politics and several other leaders in bureaucracy, cricket, cinema, arts are from the school.
So, what sets the school apart?
“It’s the environment here – a serene atmosphere outside and a conducive climate created in the class by the teachers – that helps the students expand their horizons and acquire such leadership qualities,” says Faiz Khan, secretary and treasurer, HPS Society and a batch-mate of Nadella.
Such is its vastness that there are trekking routes, rock-formations, two cricket fields, athletic arena and several hockey, football grounds and a big library for the bookworms.
The school though also carries an elitist tag. The school was founded by the Hyderabad Nizam for the children of the aristocrats and rulers from other parts of the country and was known as the Jagirdar College.
Later, after independence, it educated the kids of politicians, bureaucrats and wealthy businessmen.
However, not all the HPS students have an elite upbringing.
“I used to go by bus and from the bus-stop a few KMs away walk back to home in the Osmania University Campus where my dad was a professor,” said Syed Akbaruddin, IFS-1985, spokesperson, ministry of external affairs in New Delhi.
“I used to spend a good time in the library, which tuned me towards the civil services.”
Lately, the HPS is finding stiff competition from schools ruthlessly preparing children for the rat-race to the IITs etc. Andhra Pradesh sends highest number of kids to the IITs.
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“Some parents are of view that the school is falling in comparison to the model, concept schools. But what HPS aims for is an all round personality development, inculcating the I-can-do-it confidence essential for excelling in career and life,” said Rajeshwar Tiwari, principal secretary, school education, AP and chairman of the HPS board of governors.
“Our vision is holistic education and co-curricular activities are a must. We tell parents not to admit their kids here if getting into an IIT is their only target. Our aim is to create leaders who can lead thousands of IITians,” a senior teacher, not willing to be named, said in indirect reference to likes of Nadella that HPS made.
“Once in HPS, you cannot adjust to other schools. My son resisted our idea to shift him to another school for high percentages and we are glad we did not do so,” said M Chandrashekar, a businessman, a HPS alumnus and a classmate of Nadella.
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