Some of the best schools in the country may be the ones which involve parents, look after the special and diverse needs of children and constantly work on the professional development of teachers. Going by these parameters besides others, The Shri Ram School (Delhi and Gurgaon) has been declared as the best day school in the country in a recent survey conducted by C-Fore. Five other schools from the city too are among the top 10 day schools in the country. Vasant Valley School ranks 4th followed by Springdales School at Dhaula Kuan in the 5th spot. Delhi Public School, R K Puram, Sanskriti School and Mother's International School are at the 6th spot.
The annual survey, commissioned by Education World magazine, was conducted across 16 cities, including Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Pune, Vadodara, Ahmedabad, Chandigarh and Lucknow. The Shri Ram School was rated the best day school on the basis of the competence of its faculty, teacher welfare and development programmes, student-teacher ratio and involvement of parents. The Vasant Vihar branch has classes till Vth while the senior school is in Gurgaon.
"Ours is a total inclusion school with 24 special educators. Our results are also the best. For the past 24 years, we have been giving a lot of importance to the involvement of parents. We have proper elections for the parentteachers association, each class has a parent representative and they are also a part of the school management committee," said Manju Bharat Ram, chairperson of the school. The survey began in May this year with a hundred field researchers who interviewed over 2,000 principals, teachers and parents to understand what it takes to make a good school.
The respondents were asked to rate 404 schools under three categories – day, boarding and international – on 14 parameters of academic excellence. These included teacher welfare and development, competence of faculty, academic reputation, co-curricular activities, sports education, teacher-student ratio, discipline and life skills education, infrastructure, value for money, leadership and management quality, parental involvement, quality of alumni and students, disabled friendliness and community service.
All the six Delhi schools were on the list of top 10 day schools last year too. The others on the list this time are schools from Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad and also Noida's Step By Step. Jyoti Bose, principal, Springdales School at Dhaula Kuan, said, "I think what sets us apart is the philosophy we follow. Ours is an inclusive school and we give equal emphasis on academics and cocurricular activities. Our school has a cosmopolitan and secular culture with students from 19 countries enrolled with us. We even have a diversity manager to look after the different needs of foreign and EWS students as well as special children."
D R Saini, principal, Delhi Public School, R K Puram said it was the "synchronization of energy, synergy and ideas that took the school forward. This is the fourth year we have also been declared No 1 in academic excellence. Our students this year have got admission in eight Ivy League colleges." Abha Sehgal, principal, Sanskriti School, explained: "Academics are important to us but we also focus on the emotional quotient of our students. Our vision is to produce happy and thinking individuals."
The survey also found that Rishi Valley School at Chittoor in Andhra Pradesh is the best boarding school in the country. The Doon School in Dehradun had ranked first in this category for the past four years but has slipped to the second position this year, sharing the perch with Mayo College Girls School, Ajmer.
With high-end infrastructure, foreign curriculum and latest classroom technologies, the international schools like Woodstock School in Mussoorie, Dhirubhai Ambani International School in Mumbai and Pathways School in Gurgaon continue to attract the elite.
Woodstock ranks first in the survey followed by Kodaikanal International School and Indus International School in Bangalore. IBO-Geneva affiliated Pathways School in Gurgaon ranks seven with the best infrastructure.