A touch of class for your child
First, over the past year, Indian policy makers have ushered in radical changes in curricula across boards.india Updated: Sep 20, 2010 11:56 IST
For many Indian parents, selecting a school for their child is among the most significant decisions they will make. Which schools should they apply to?
Then, having jumped through several admission hoops, which one should they finally choose?
These questions bedevil not just newcomers to Mumbai but also parents who have lived here for years. This is because city schools are rapidly transforming.
First, over the past year, Indian policy makers have ushered in radical changes in curricula across boards.
Second, international boards are rapidly making inroads, often charging fees unheard of before but also introducing innovative and wider approaches to learning and teaching.
Finally, many of today’s generation of highly conscious parents want to be closely involved with their children’s lives at school: they want a lot of information about what goes on at school not only before sending their children there but also afterwards.
Both our survey and the subsequent series of articles capturing key education trends take into account these key shifts in schooling and parenting. Moreover, this year, we have incorporated into our ranking process several sensible suggestions that readers made last year, when we first conducted the school survey.
We present brief profiles of three schools — the highest-ranked one and two others that we chose in order to give readers a diverse view
1 Cathedral & John Connon School Fort
Boards: 10th – ICSE; 12th – ISC and by 2012, the school hopes to also offer the IB diploma.
Monthly fee: Rs 5,000
Student strength: Almost 2,000 girls and boys
Student-teacher ratio: 30:1
History: The school is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year. In 1860, the Anglo-Scottish Education Society set up a choir school for boys to train choristers for the St. Thomas Cathedral, from which the school takes its name. Over time, this became a full-blown school called the Cathedral Boys’ School. In 1880, the society set up the Cathedral Girls’ School. In 1965, these schools merged not only with one another but also with another school called the John Connon School, which was run by the Bombay Scottish Education Society. The current senior school building housed the old Cathedral Boys’ School, the middle school building the old girls’ school and the junior school the John Connon School.
Unique features: The school has five sections, each at a different location in south Mumbai — the infant school, the pre-primary school, the junior school, the middle school and the senior school. This helps managing the school and makes each section more intimate. The school has a fierce house system. A student’s house defines his or her identity and fosters bonding. Almost everything a student does, from academic performance to sports to punctuality, yields house points. At the end of each year, the house with the most points gets a trophy. The school has also had continuity in leadership. It has had only 10 principals in its 150-year history. So principals have been able to see their ideas through. Notable alumni include JRD Tata, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, Salman Rushdie and Fareed Zakaria.
6 Campion School,Colaba
Board: 10th – ICSE; does not have 11th and 12th
Monthly fee: Rs 3,000
Student strength: 770, boys
Student-teacher ratio: 35:1
History: Campion School was founded on January 20,1943, by the members of the Society of Jesus or the Jesuits. The founder-principal was the late Father Joseph Savall. The school started out on a rental ground floor flat in New Marine Lines with 23 children, but as the year progressed, increased to 70.
In January 1948, Campion School shifted to Wellesley House, where it was initially supposed to have been housed. In 1956, the school attained the stature of a full-fledged high school, with 382 children on its rolls, recognised both by the University of Cambridge and by the SSC Board.
Unique features: The school has a strong offering of extra-curricular activities, including the junior Red Cross, yoga, quizzing, elocution and a host of sports. It has particularly good football and basketball teams.
The school has an active parent-teacher association, which has committees that take charge of different activities. The school also conducts parenting workshops
and prepares students for college through career guidance sessions and life-skills classes.
10 Utpal Shanghvi School, Vile Parle(W)
Boards: 10th — SSC, IGCSE; 12th — HSC and A-levels
Monthly fee: Rs 2,000 for the SSC division, Rs 4,500 for the IGCSE division
Student strength: About 3,400 girls and boys
Student-teacher ratio: 40:1 in the SSC division and 30:1 in the IGCSE division
History: In 1980, 14 of Juhu’s co-operative housing societies established a trust called the Juhu Vile Parle Education Society because they felt it was very hard to find good, co-educational, English-medium schools in the vicinity for their children. The trust convinced the Juhu Vile Parle Development Scheme Association, to which the 14 housing societies belonged, to allot it a plot for a school. The Association’s secretary Dhanvant Shanghvi also offered the school a donation of Rs 10 lakh, in return for which the trust named the school after his son, who had died in a car accident in 1972.
Unique features: The school offers training in a wide range of sports, including martial arts such as belt-wrestling and jujitsu. It currently boasts of six national-level sports champions. The school also offers parent enrichment workshops because it strongly believes in keeping parents constantly involved in the school’s functioning and listening to their feedback. The school has a state-of-the-art audio-visual room. It began a news telecast project, in which students and teachers put together news bulletins that are telecast every day in all classrooms. The school’s student council and some senior students become peer mentors who guide and
counsel students in their charge.