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HindustanTimes Tue,26 Aug 2014

Gurgaon’s academic ambitions

Swati Kundra , Hindustan Times   September 10, 2013
First Published: 00:02 IST(10/9/2013) | Last Updated: 19:33 IST(10/9/2013)

Plush malls, modern architecture, golf courses are not the only defining characteristics of Gurgaon. It is, in fact, fast becoming the hub of exclusive schools with state-of-the-art infrastructure, multi-dimensional curricula, promising global exposure for its students and a diverse platter of extracurricular activities. Gurgaon schools do seem to have it all.

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The HT-C fore 2013 Top Schools Survey reveals where some of Gurgaon’s best schools stand this year.  The current  honour list shows that the top three schools of 2012 have retained their positions. Blue Bells Model School, has, however, lost its place in the top ten.

The Shri Ram School (TSRS), Aravali, has topped the charts with the highest score in the ‘competence of teachers’, ‘academic rigour’, ‘extra-curricular activities’ and ‘parental participation’ categories.

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When asked about the secret of the school’s consistent good performance in survey results, Sudha Sahay, principal, said the school doesn’t believe in the ranking system. “We don’t understand these labels of good, better or best,” she said. “Education is an ocean and we are constantly on the learning curve where each one is trying to better his or her performance. That is what, I believe, creates the winning culture in the school.”

In the second place is The Heritage School, a regular in the top ten since the last four years. It has ranked first in the ‘teacher care and development’, ‘infrastructure and facilities’ and ‘sports’ categories. In a span of 15 years, the school has surpassed the achievements of more established names in Gurgaon.

DAV Public School has come third overall, sharing the spot with Shikshantar School. The former has done well by retaining the highest score again in ‘social accountability’ and ‘value for money’ categories, while the latter has topped in five out of fourteen parameters as diverse as ‘individual attention to students’, ‘innovative teaching’, ‘life skills education, ‘value system, and ‘safety and hygiene’.

Facilities come at a price

Gurgaon schools happen to be the most expensive in the NCR region. Not surprisingly, middle-class families can only dream of admitting their children into these schools. Or does such a class exist in Gurgaon?

“There is no middle-class in Gurgaon,” said Dhriti Malhotra, principal, Manav Rachna International School, sector 46. “In a place like this, where everyone seems to be doing well, parents aspire for world-class facilities for their children, which are being provided at affordable rates. So there is no question of any school being out of reach,” she adds.

Not all schools in Gurgaon are expensive, but those who charge a high fee, defend their decision by saying that it depends on the grounds that they provide a variety of facilities. Affordability, however, remains a sore point between parents and school authorities.  Despite charging a higher fee amount than others, why do even the best of these schools lag behind in the ‘value for money’ category, ask parents.

It is unfair to single out only Gurgaon since schools all over Delhi and the NCR are becoming expensive. On the upside, Gurgaon schools, apart from catering to the local residents, have also become the go-to alternative for parents whose children have not been able to secure admission into a good school in Delhi. 

“Many established Delhi schools have branches in Gurgaon. People working with multinational companies are the main clientele for these schools,” said A Javeed, director, Salwan Public School, Sector 15. Set up in 1953, the school began in the Rajinder Nagar area of New Delhi and now has branches in Delhi and NCR.

Shomita Chatterjee, a resident of DLF Phase III, Gurgaon, whose elder son attends The Shri Ram School, Moulsari, while the younger one goes to Shikshantar School, agrees that education at Gurgaon’s top schools is accessible to those who are well-off. But in the same breath, she praises the quality of education. “The modes of teaching are more experimental in Gurgaon schools. I feel they are even better than some of the old and well-established Delhi schools where they still stick to the conventional teaching methods,” she said.

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