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Opting out of the rat race

Schools in South-West Delhi are arguably the gold standard of education in the capital. Will they succeed in their endeavour to shift the focus away from scoring 100%? Shubhi Vijay reports.

education Updated: Dec 28, 2011 10:57 IST
Shubhi Vijay
Shubhi Vijay
Hindustan Times

Schools in South-West Delhi bring along their own legacies. With an interesting mix of the old and the new — be it The Shri Ram School, Vasant Valley School or Delhi Public School — private institutions are holding fort here.

The brands run to all spheres. From established ones like the IIT or newer ones such as The Energy Resources Institute (TERI), several institutions have setup campuses. DLF has setup malls. The thappa here stands tall in an everchanging educational landscape.

This year's Hindustan Times—C Fore Top School survey results may not have differed drastically from last year's, but did make way for a new entrant— St. Mary's School. Situated in Safdarjung Enclave, the school has been run by the Santa Maria Education Society for the past 43 years. It scored second highest on the 'safety and hygiene' parameter.

The aspirations, demands and performance of students, teachers and parents have changed too. A quick look at the parameters on which schools were evaluated shows this. If it's 'competence of teachers' that's the deal maker for some parents, then The Shri Ram School, Vasant Vihar's number one ranking on this might be a comfort to many. DPS, R K Puram, on the other hand, tops the 'academic rigour' category among others, pacifying those focussed on a child's performance in exams.

In an intensely competitive atmosphere where one is willing to do almost anything for that extra mark or the coveted college seat, schools here are deliberately trying to shift the focus and lighten this marks oriented classroom environment.

Jyoti Bose, Director, Springdales, Dhaula Kuan, has made a conscious decision to stay away from the numbers game. “We are not a school in the rat-race for marks. We choose not to be. We encourage the passions of students and believe in the co-curricular enhancing academic capability,” she said. That is evident in the 13 clubs that the school offers its students ranging from UNESCO and Elocution to the Heritage Club. These are perhaps a contributing factor to its good performance in 'extra-curricular activities' and 'value system'.

The school, according to the present head girl, Saba Dave, "inculcates diversities and helps a student to find out what you are good at and carving your own niche". The reason they can do this, feels her classmate, Anna Sinha is "only because, from day one, Springdales stresses on the importance of knowledge and not text books".

The CCE Saga
Introduction of Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) isn't much of a game changer for schools here, as these methods of evaluation are old news here. Vasant Valley School, from its conception in 1990, has had it's version of CCE in place.

Mount St. Mary's, Parade Road echoes the same sentiment, with a long tradition of equal emphasis while evaluating everything from public speaking to mathematics. "At MSM, we develop as individuals because of the varied evaluation parameters," says Anirudh Chaudhary, a student at the school.

As the schools charge ahead with a definite thrust on all-round development of their students, they aren't unaware of what problems plague the system now. Arun Kapur, Director, Vasant Valley aptly puts it, "We are an over-schooled and under-educated society and we are working to change that".

The ten best schools

First Published: Dec 26, 2011 21:32 IST