Within the hearts and minds of the uninformed, there is considerable prejudice against India’s small but growing number of new genre international schools. Left intellectuals and fellow travelers who dominate Indian academia and have considerable influence in the media, naively dismiss them as elitist and expensive. Yet contrary to popular opinion, the country’s estimated 105 low-profile international schools — of which number only 25 were sufficiently familiar names to over 20 sample respondents in the regions in which the international schools included in the EW-C fore Survey of Schools 2009 are sited — serve several useful social purposes.
For one, international schools — defined for the purposes of this survey as schools majorly affiliated with international examination boards such as the International Baccalaureate Organisation (IBO), Geneva; Cambridge International Examinations (CIE), UK and The College Board, USA — discharge the vital role of raising primary-secondary education standards. Delivering high-quality school education benchmarked with the latest innovations in Western countries where pedagogies and learning outcomes are seriously researched, they have already helped to upgrade the quality of K-12 education in India across the board. If today there is a new awareness of the importance of pedagogic concepts such as learning through understanding, joyful learning, introduction of ICT (information communications techno-logies) in education, counseling and pastoral care, India’s small minority of international schools with their well-trained teachers and excellent infrastructure, have contributed greatly in creating it.
Moreover it’s important to bear in mind that although high-priced by Indian standards, they provide world class primary-secondary education at a fraction of the tuition fees levied by their counterparts abroad. Little wonder that a growing number of children from countries around the world are flocking to India’s international schools for the high quality English medium instruction dispensed by them.
Middle and upper middle class India has also been quick to appreciate the high market value of internationally benchmarked foundational education in a rapidly globalising world. Therefore it’s no surprise that the Woodstock School, Mussoorie (estb. 1852), which over the past 150-plus years has acquired a global reputation for dispensing high quality classes VI-XII education in the pristine Himalayan foothills to its 454 students, has retained its premier ranking as India’s most respected international school in the EW-C fore Survey of Schools 2009. Highly rated on the vital parameters of academic reputation, leadership/manage-ment and infrastructure provision, this American-inspired institution of academic excellence has outdistanced its former sister school — Kodaikanal International down south, ranked second (again) this year — by a considerable aggregate score margin.
“We are delighted that for the second year running, Woodstock has been ranked the top international school in the country in the EW-C fore Survey of Schools 2009. But while Woodstock celebrates past achieve-ments, we continue to invest in the future. We are planning additions to the school’s academic programme over the next year, and we will continue to invest in our facilities and staff to fulfill our mission of producing world citizens and leaders. Our curriculum will also feature an enhancement of the outdoor education programme with specialist-led expedi-tions and skills-building exercises such as rock-climbing and wilderness first-aid. A challenging and exciting future awaits the next generation, and Woodstock will welcome the future with them, striving to provide education for a world of difference,” says Dr. David Laurenson, principal of Woodstock School, Mussoorie.
These two top-ranked institutions which have retained their rankings apart, there’s been considerable rearrangement of seating at the Top 10 table. The low-profile Hebron School, Ootacamund and Indus International, Bangalore have vaulted from sixth and twelfth to third and fourth respectively this year. And while the British and American embassy schools have retained their last year’s rankings, the high-profile Pathways World School, Gurgaon has moved up two places to No. 9.
“I’m very pleased to hear that indus international has risen from last year’s 12th rank to No. 4 this year in the EW survey of international schools. I attribute this to the excellent leadership our chief executive Gen. Arjun Ray has provided the school, strong support from our parents’ community, and our cooperative and enthusiastic student body. I am especially pleased by the high ratings we have received under the parameters of individual attention to students and academic reputation. All this is the result of substantial investments we have made in terms of time and resources in teacher recruitment and training during the past year,” says Sarojini Rao, principal of the Indus International School, Bangalore (estb. 2003).
Among the schools which for mysterious reasons have slipped badly in the international schools league table this year are Mallya Aditi, Bangalore (3 to 11); Good Shepherd International, Ootacamund (3 to 5); The International School, Bangalore (8 to 15); Mahindra United World College, Pune (9 to 17); Canadian International, Bangalore (10 to 18); Calcutta International School (13 to 21); DRS International, Hyderabad (17 to 23) and International School of Hyderabad (18 to 24).
On the other hand, three institutions which hadn’t made it to the international schools league table last year have made respectable entries in 2009 — Mercedes Benz International, Pune (16); Billabong High International, Mumbai (19) and Sreenidhi International, Hyderabad (22). Regretably the Trivandrum International School, ranked 16 last year, has slipped below the public radar and didn’t qualify for ranking this year.
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