INDIA’S TRADITIONAL OR LEGACY BOARDING SCHOOLS ARE MUCH loved by the country’s westernised and aspirational middle class. Modeled on mid-rung British public schools, they have made a great contribution towards developing leaders of industry, civil and defence services. Offering spartan games and sports-intensive liberal education usually in the salubrious climes of hill stations, they have substantially contributed to the growth and development of post-independence India’s middle class which has established even if not entirely successfully norms of democratic governance and standards in public life which have ensured that against all expectations, India has survived as a functioning, even if chaotic, democracy. Although some of their glamour has been stolen by the new genre of international schools mushrooming countrywide, because of their relatively affordable fees, legacy boarding schools remain the first choice of parents looking to provide their progeny disciplined, no-frills, sports-intensive primary-secondary education.
In the old days, the country’s best boarding schools such as Doon, Lawrence, Sanawar and Lovedale, Mayo, Daly College and Bishop Cotton enjoyed pan-India and even transnational reputations attracting students from across the country and the Indian diaspora. But of late changes in parenting norms and liberalisation of boarding school rules have prompted parents who value residential school education for their wards to enrol them in legacy boarding schools nearer home to facilitate greater interaction and visits with their children. Therefore regional rankings of boarding schools closer to home have assumed greater importance in recent years.
AS IN OTHER REGIONS, THE TOP 10 TABLE OF NORTH INDIA’S HIGHLY reputed boarding schools has witnessed a rearrangement of the seating order this year. Somewhat inevitably at the head of the table is the seemingly impregnable Doon School, Dehradun which with high ratings under the parameters of academic reputation, co-curricular education and faculty competence among others has aggregated a total score of 1,121 establishing a clear lead over Welham Girls, Dehradun rated second in the northern region in 2010. Other household names in the northern region which have advanced in public esteem are Bishop Cotton, Shimla (No. 5 to 3); Sherwood College, Nainital (9 to 3) who share the regional third rank with the consistently highly-rated Lawrence School, Sanawar. Another new entrant into the Top 5 list is Daly College, Indore, top-ranked countrywide under the parameter of sports education.
Other schools which improved their regional ranking this year are Rashtriya Indian Military College, Dehradun (7 to 5); Army Public, Dagshai (10 to 6); St. George’s College, Mussoorie (11 to 8); Mussoorie International now being managed by ICT-in-education major Educomp Solutions Ltd (15 to 9) and Vidya Devi Jindal Girls, Hisar (unranked to 10). Further down the 16-strong Northern Region list of most-respected boarding schools, DPS Pinjore has moved into the regional league table (unranked to 13), Shigally International Academy, Dehradun (18 to 14); Pinegrove School, Dharampur (unranked to 15), and the Scindia Kanya Vidyalaya, Gwalior (19 to 16).
QUITE OBVIOUSLY THE PRACTICE OF SENDING CHILDREN TO boarding school is not as prevalent in western India as it is in the north. Only eight boarding schools in the Western Region are sufficiently well-known to be ranked by the 2,026 sample respondents countrywide — including 295 from the Western Region — who constituted the base for the EW-C fore India’s Most Respected Schools Survey 2010. Please note that institutions rated and ranked by less than 25 respondents were not included in the league tables. Of these select establishments, Mayo College Girls, Ajmer (ranked second all-India) with an aggregate score of 1,116 boosted by highest ratings on the parameters of leadership and faculty competence has far outdistanced Mayo (Boys) College (1,055). Further down the short-list, New Era, Panchgani (No.3), Orchid School, Nashik (4), Maharani Gayatri Devi, Jaipur (5) and RiverDale, Pune (6) have maintained their regional ranks.
THE LIST OF BOARDING SCHOOLS SUFFICIENTLY WELL-KNOWN to be included in the EW-C fore Southern Region league table is also short. At the head of the table is the Rishi Valley School, Chittoor which has been rated and ranked the country’s premier boarding school jointly with the Doon School, Dehradun. In the nine-school table in which Lawrence, Lovedale has reclaimed its second position, institutions which improved their ranking are B.G.S. International, Bangalore (No. 4 to 3); St. John’s International, Chennai (5 to 3) and Bangalore Military School (7 to 4). The institution which has suffered a steep fall in public esteem this year is the reclusive Sarala Birla Academy, Bangalore (2 to 8).
THIS YEAR’S EASTERN REGION BOARDING SCHOOL LEAGUE TABLE 2010 has undergone a dramatic change. The very pucca and much venerated St. Paul’s School, Darjeeling (estb. 1823) which hitherto topped the regional league table with effortless ease has been toppled by the relatively new vintage Assam Valley School (AVS, estb. 1995). Ranked first in the east on the parameters of academic reputation, co-curricular education and integrity/honesty and ranked second on faculty competence and leadership, AVS has chalked up the highest aggregate score of all legacy boarding schools in the Eastern Region.
Within the region’s Top Five, St. Joseph’s, North Point which was surprisingly outranked by the Himali Boarding School (HBS), has traded places with HBS to be ranked third this year. Moreover this year’s Eastern Region league table is larger with several hitherto unranked schools having qualified for inclusion. The larger league table indicates that primary-secondaries in the region are becoming aware of the need to improve their institutional profiles, accountability and communication with the public.
Source : EducationWorld Survey, September 2010