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The school with a difference

The story of Gurgaon's rise is well known. As the dusty Haryana hamlet took a giant economic leap in the 90s, joining the great Indian quest for growth, it became home to malls, BPOs and corporate boardrooms.

india Updated: Nov 16, 2009 15:23 IST

The story of Gurgaon's rise is well known. As the dusty Haryana hamlet took a giant economic leap in the 90s, joining the great Indian quest for growth, it became home to malls, BPOs and corporate boardrooms.

The growth also fanned the ambition of the people -- especially parents, who sought as glitzy a future for their children as the malls they bought their groceries from.

The schools did not disappoint.

Curriculums mirrored the change as a host of institutions emerged offering `global education standards'.

The task of evaluating the views of over 200 parents and teachers for the HT-C fore school survey was, therefore, tough but also interesting. The conflict of perceptions (this-one-is-better-than-that-one) was intense.

But at the end of it all, when the score sheet (see table) was compiled, Shri Ram School stood at the top of the chart.

Established in 1995, the school situated on Moulsari Avenue came across as jovial and smart when we paid a visit.

The International Peace Day celebrations were on.

Students -- most of them clad in white kurtas -- expressed their concern about international conflicts through words, songs, skits and a slideshow. Candles were lit and balloons, carrying the message of peace, were released.

The school "buzzes with excitement and activity" every day, is what a group of smiling girls told us. "That's what sets it apart from other schools."

Reba Mukherji, the school's librarian who looks over a collection of 22,000 books and has been with the school for 14 years, says she cannot imagine working anywhere else.

"This place is happening. The pulse is of the times."


The students in turn brag about the teachers -- "they are simply awesome".


Sports captain Bhavya Bishnoi (Class 11), says: "We have the most brilliant and friendly teachers."

The school, that actively discourages competition and does not believe in ranking one better than the other, has an impressive student-teacher ratio of 10:1. This essentially means that one teacher is responsible for the overall growth of only 10 students, an aspect that helped Shri Ram notch the highest score in the survey's `individual attention' segment.

Geography teacher Madhur Usgaonkar says not only teachers but "the principal, too, is accessible".


"The students can walk up anytime and talk to her," Usgaonkar says. He also serves as the activities in-charge of the school that considers voluntary service an important part of the curriculum.

Kirat Singh, a Class 12 humanities student, has been a wildlife enthusiast since his junior school days.


"I went to Ranthambhor as part of a group to rehabilitate a tribe that was once engaged in tiger poaching."


He returned to score 95 per cent in his Class 10 ICSE boards.


That's Shri Ram school in a nutshell.


2.
Delhi Public School (Sector 45)
Numbers: 5,000 students (approx) and 308 teachers
Board: CBSE
Academic rigour: Toppers of Class 10 and 12 for 2008-09 scored 97 per cent and 94.4 per cent, respectively.
Money matters: Rs 35,280 (annual fee)
Nursery admission: Informal interaction with parents. Play way methodology used to assess social skills of the child and his/her readiness for formal schooling. Local residents preferred
Website:www.dpsgurgaon.org


3.Pathways World School (Sohna Road)
Numbers: 1,000 students, 130 teachers
Board: IB Diploma Programme for Class 12 and IGCSE for Class 10
Academic rigour: Toppers of Class 10 and 12 for 2008-09 scored 91 per cent each Money matters: Annual fee not available
Nursery admission: Oral interaction with parents and child can be asked to perform simple activities
Website:www.pathways.ac.in


4. Shri Ram School, Aravali (DLF Phase IV)
Numbers: 1,000 students (approx) and 130 teachers
Board: ICSE/ISC, National Open School
Academic rigour: Toppers of Class 10 and 12 for 2008-09 scored 91% each
Money matters: Rs 60,000-Rs 70,000
Nursery admission: Primary school candidates are examined by the the primary section head. Oral interaction with parents and child can be asked to perform simple activities Website:www.shriconnect.net


5. The Banyan Tree World School (Sector 53)
Numbers: 108 students, 18 teachers
Board: IB Diploma Programme for Class 12 and IGCSE for Class 10; ICSE (in process)
Academic rigour: Class 10 and 12 toppers scored 80% (IGCSE) and 77% (IB), respectively.
Money matters: Rs 20,500 (at the time of admission).
Nursery admission: Informal interaction with parents for nursery and KG level admissions. Grade 2 onwards, a written test is conducted
Website:www.banyantree.ws


6. The Heritage School (Sushant Lok Phase III)
Numbers: 1,700 students, 186 teachers
Board: CBSE
Academic rigour: Only two batches have taken the Class 10 board examination so far. The toppers of 2008 and 2009 have scored 91 per cent and 94.6 per cent, respectively. The first batch of Class 12 will appear for Boards in 2010.
Money matters: Rs 60,000-Rs 65,000
Nursery admission: Informal interaction with parents only . Nursery selection through lottery. Locals preferred
Website:www.theheritageschool.com

7. Scottish High International (Sector 57)
Numbers: 1,600 students, 300 teachers
Board: ICSE and IGCSE for Class 10 and ISC and IB for Class 12 Academic rigour: The first Class 10 batch appeared for board examination this year. The topper scored 89.2 per cent.
Money matters: Rs 72,600 annual fee
Nursery admission: Admissions are made on a first-come-first-serve basis after an informal chat with child and parents.
Website:www.scottishigh.com


8. Blue Bells Model School
(Sector 4)
Numbers: 1,700 students and 72 teachers
Board: CBSE
Academic rigour: Toppers of Class 10 and 12 for 2008-09 scored 96.4 per cent and 96.7 per cent respectively.
Money matters: Rs 28, 755 (annual fee)
Nursery admission: Selection on the basis of a test and an informal interaction with the student and the parents.
Preference given to siblings, alumni, teachers and local residents.
Website: www.bluebells.org


9. Amity International
(Sector 46)
Numbers: 2,400 students and 142 teachers Board: CBSE Academic rigour: Toppers of Class 10 and 12 for 2008-09 scored 95 per cent and 94.8 per cent respectively
Money matters: Rs 40,550 (annual fee)
Nursery admission: Informal interaction with parents and child together.No specific preference for any particular group.
Website:www.amity.edu/ais/aisg2


10. Summer Fields School
(DLF Phase I)
Numbers: 1,814 students and 121 teachers Board: CBSE Academic rigour: Toppers of Class 10 and 12 for 2008-09 scored 95 and 94 per cent, respectively.
Money matters: Details on annual fees not available
Nursery admission: Students from neigbourhood are preferred.
Informal interaction with child and parents
Website:www.sfsdlf.com