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The making of global students

Creativity and research rather than rote learning - international schools are pushing the envelope with their new educational outlook. Angela Zonunpari writes. Top international schools in Delhi and the NCR

india Updated: Sep 18, 2012 01:48 IST
Angela Zonunpari
Angela Zonunpari
Hindustan Times

With changes in Indian education boards and more students applying for colleges outside India, the want for a ‘different’ kind of curriculum is growing. A want that is now being satisfied by the growing number of ‘international schools’.

Keeping this in mind, for the first time, the 2012 HT - C fore Top Schools survey has ranked the top international schools in Delhi and the National Captal Region (NCR).

Over ten years old, Pathways Aravali, located in Gurgaon, tops the list with highest scores in ‘teacher care and development’, ‘extra-curricular activities’ and ‘innovation in teaching’ among others.

Scottish High International School(SHIS), Gurgaon, comes second, topping the ‘social accountability’ category, followed by DPS International, Pushp Vihar, which scored the highest in ‘competence of teachers’, ‘academic rigour’ and ‘value for money’. Top international schools in Delhi and the NCR

Why the demand? Sudha Goyal, principal, SHIS explains. With the demographic profile of parents in Gurgaon being mainly professionals working in the private sector or people who have moved back to India, they are “looking for a balance in academics (for their children). They want an international curriculum... rather than rote learning, they want creativity and research,” she said. “The trend of setting up international schools is not a national, but a pan-asian trend,” said Sarvesh Naidu, director, Pathways School, Aravali, underlining this phenomenon.

He believes that Indians are becoming more and more aware. “Students are not willing to go for a high pressure exam system. The focus is on application, not simple regurgitation,” he said.

These international schools do not follow the state or national education boards, but have their own international curriculum, which allows students to “mix and match” their subjects in school and decide their specialisation of subjects only later on, while in college.

Naidu described traditional curriculums as “one size to fit all”, a philosophy the international schools don’t follow.

Sending a child to an international school is not an exclusively metro city trend. “We have parents from Nagpur, Karnal, even small towns in Madhya Pradesh who send their children,” said Naidu.

The decision to send her child to an international school came easy for Grace Vargas, whose son is in Class 1 at Pathways (Aravali). She wanted a school that would provide her child with a more international outlook and expose him to a global arena.

“The teachers are helpful, they are always there to help with the ‘growing pains’,” said Vargas, an Ecuadorian married to an Indian. “I love how

my child is growing…his approach to problems and other things in life are much more open and interesting,” she said.

The growth has predominantly been outside Delhi, with DPS International being an exception. When asked why, Naidu said that for schools like theirs — with air-conditioned classrooms, big sport grounds, tennis courts, swimming pools, and hostels among many other facilities — they need space, which Delhi lacks. All these facilities, of course, come at a much higher price.

Talking about the future of international schools in India, Naidu said: “Parallel colleges have sprung up, and these are compatible with international curriculum since they do not only look at grades. These colleges have better standards, more land… I see this as a sign that the demand for international schools is only going to go up.”

First Published: Sep 17, 2012 16:00 IST