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HindustanTimes Sat,09 Aug 2014

Schools in the Capital shine bright

Abhijit Patnaik, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, December 20, 2013
First Published: 19:55 IST(20/12/2013) | Last Updated: 01:23 IST(21/12/2013)

The HT-C fore Top Schools survey, now in its fifth year, aims to serve as a ready reckoner on schools in the Delhi-NCR region and is conducted with the objective of helping parents negotiate the maze-like, and somewhat confounding process of choosing, applying and attempting to get children admitted to schools in the area.

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In today’s final part of the survey, we bring to you the Top 20 schools in the Delh-NCR region. This year, the number of schools in the list from Delhi’s surrounding areas — Gurgaon, Noida, Faridabad and Ghaziabad —  is five, down from six last year.

Ghaziabad and Faridabad schools are noticeable in their absence from this year’s list. DPS Ghaziabad, Meerut Road and DPS, Faridabad have fallen out of the Top 20. The new entrants include DPS, Rohini;  Nirmal Bhartia, Dwarka and Ahlcon International, Mayur Vihar.

The ten best schools are still dominated by established names in south and central Delhi, headed by Vasant Valley school in Vasant Kunj.   But there are many schools from other zones in Delhi which make up the remaining schools in the list of twenty.

The New Contenders

It’s easy to see why these schools have done well — tailored curricula, a high degree of professional development  facilitated by investments in teacher training, employing latest technologies, paying  attention to non-academic aspects of education, stronger engagement with parents —  schools have succeeded in  building a ‘school community’. Gone are the days when there was a noticeable difference between facilities provided by established schools in south and central Delhi such as a DPS, RK Puram and Modern School, Barakhamba to those in the upcoming schools in other areas. 

There is change, but there are also constants. The DPS brand rules once again. They have strength in numbers, with a branch in almost every part of Delhi-NCR, but accounting for 6 out of the Top 20 schools is no mean feat. “DPS is synonymous with excellence. We believe in high standards, whether it is academics or values. We give students good resources and opportunities and ensure their overall development,” said Sunita Tanwar, principal, DPS, Dwarka.

Affordability takes a hit

Parents may complain about high fees, but the reality is they have no choice. Despite Delhi being a Mecca of schools, supply outstrips demand and parents simply have to choose the school their child is lucky to get into and pay the asking rate.

Only two out of the twenty top schools charge fees in the Rs. 50,000 per year range. Such is the divergence, that some schools ask for over four times that rate. The mushrooming of corporate-backed schools, especially in Gurgaon and Noida, has been a blessing for parents and students. The schools provide world-class infrastructure, a luxury that schools run by educational trusts can ill-afford, unless they pass on the burden to parents. But this has contributed to fee inflation as well.

Springdales, Dhaula Kuan, is one of Delhi’s most affordable schools. “We provide all basic facilities and don’t want to overburden parents. We may not have a fleet of A/C buses — our focus is more on the content and quality of education,” said Jyoti Bose, principal.  

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