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India's most admired international schools

This year the newly promoted (2003) Indus International, Bangalore and Dhirubhai Ambani International, Mumbai have ended the four-year duopoly of the vintage Woodstock, Mussoorie and Kodaikanal International. Summiya Yasmeen reports

In sharp contrast with the largely undisturbed Top 10 pecking order of British-inspired legacy boarding schools, in the league table of India’s most admired new genre international schools, the old order has changed.

This year Indus International School, Bangalore (estb. 2003) and Dhirubhai Ambani International School, Mumbai (estb.2003) have ended the four-year duopoly of the vintage Woodstock School, Mussoorie (estb.1854) and  Kodaikanal International School (KIS, estb. 1901), to be ranked India’s most respected international schools. Since the EW India School Rankings were introduced in 2007, Woodstock and KIS have alternated as the country’s top two international schools.

For the annual EW-C fore surveys, international schools are defined as institutions which offer the syllabuses and curriculums of foreign examination boards such as IBO, Geneva; CIE and Edexcel, UK and The College Board, USA from at least middle school (class VIII) onward. Moreover, with a large number of international schools also offering students the option of writing national exams (CISCE or CBSE), only primary-secondaries with more than 30 percent of students enroled in the international programme are classified as international. “That’s why even though more than 200 schools coun-trywide classify themselves as international, we have rated and ranked only 40 of them where over 30 percent of the student body is committed to writing the examinations of offshore boards,” explains Premchand Palety, chief executive of C fore.

Accredited by the Geneva-based International Baccalaureate Organisation (IBO) and UK-based Cambridge International Examinations (CIE), Indus International School, Bangalore (IIS), which was co-ranked second last year, is top-ranked this year with an aggregate score of 1294. IIS, which hosts 1,100 students mentored by 130 teachers, is also ranked first on a record five parameters of educational excellence including teacher welfare and development, co-curricular education, individual attention to students, leadership/management quality, and community service. “It’s a special achievement and honour for IIS-Bangalore to be rated by the public as India’s No. 1 international school, above institutions established a century before us. I attribute our top ranking to several factors including the vision and leadership of the top management, high-quality faculty, excellent year-round teacher training, a unique leadership curriculum which begins in kindergarten, and emphasis on whole education with academics and co-curricular and sports education allotted equal attention. Our first rank on the parameter of parental involvement can be ascribed to the open, transparent and participatory relationship we share with parents, who as part of a Parents Advisory Committee provide the school continuous feedback,” says Sarojini Rao, principal of IIS.

IIS-Bangalore has additional reason to celebrate. Its two affiliated schools in Hyderabad and Pune — promoted in 2007 and 2008 respectively by the parent Indus Trust — are also ranked among the top 15 international schools count-rywide. IIS-Hyderabad is ranked No. 11 and IIS-Pune 13. “The rise of Indus International schools in Hyderabad and Pune, promoted less than four years ago, to the Top 15 is very encouraging. It endorses the validity of the excellent systems tried and tested in IIS-Bangalore which ensure all our students receive high quality academic and co-curricular education delivered by well-qualified and trained faculty,” says Lt. Gen (Retd) Arjun Ray (PVSM, VSM), chief executive of Indus Trust.

Likewise the IBO, Geneva and CIE, UK-affiliated Dhirubhai Ambani International School, Mumbai (DAIS), also promoted in 2003, has steadily improved its national ranking rising from No. 7 in 2009 to 6 in 2010, 4 in 2011, and to second position this year. “We are absolutely delighted that DAIS is ranked among India’s top two international schools. The steady improvement in our ranking is the outcome of our deter-mination to provide a world-class education experience to students. Our talented and committed faculty, hard-working students, eclectic mix of curricular and co-curricular opport-unities, emphasis on Indian culture and values, community service initiatives and international linkages, and the trust parents have reposed in us — all these factors have contributed to the success of our young school globally,” says Nita Ambani, founder-chairperson of DAIS which boasts an enrolment of 1,050 students instructed by 142 teachers.

Significantly, dais has trumped the more than century-old Woodstock and KIS on the crucial parameters of competence of faculty, individual attention to students, academic reputation, and leadership/ management quality. “I’m especially pleased about our No. 1 ranking on the parameter of competence of faculty which is given double weightage. This is the outcome of strong emphasis on continuous teacher training. We give our teachers not only the best training but also creative freedom to implement innovative pedagogies,” adds Ambani.

Another highlight of the EW International Schools Rankings 2012 is the promotion of three new entrants to the Top 10 table — the Oberoi International School, Mumbai whose ranking has improved from No.12 in 2011 to 6 this year; Scottish High International, Gurgaon (13 to 9) and International School of Hyderabad (11 to 10).

Promoted in 2005 and sited over five acres in the steel and glass city of Gurgaon — a hub of international schools (15) in the national capital region — Scottish High is top-rated on the newly introduced parameter of special needs education. “I’m parti-cularly happy about the top rank given to us for providing special needs education. Scottish High is strongly committed to inclusive education and offers remedial, sensory and occupa-tional therapy rooms plus a highly qualified team of specialists led by the dean of integrated studies to facilitate differently abled children to enter the mainstream. We have specially developed an innovative and flexible curriculum towards this end,” says Sudha Goyal, principal of Scottish High International, which offers its 2,200 students the choice of two international examinations boards — IBO, Geneva and CIE, UK.

This year, several new institutions have also debuted in the league table of international schools. Among them: Pathways World School, Noida (20), Lancers International School, Gurgaon (20), Rustomji Cambridge International School, Mumbai (22), Aga Khan Academy, Hyderabad (27), Mahatma Gandhi International, Ahmedabad and Ryan Global School, Andheri, Mumbai (32).

For International Schools all-India league table, State Rankings and Parameters of Excellence click the following links:

userfiles/Most Admired International Schools all-India Ranking-pgs(7).pdf

userfiles/International Schools State Rankings-pgs(7).pdf

/userfiles/Parameters of Excellence India's Top 10 International Schools-pgs(8).pdf

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