To compile the EW India School Rankings 2014, 8,263 knowledgeable fees-paying parents, educationists, principals and teachers were interviewed in 25 cities by 203 field researchers of the Delhi-based C fore and asked to rate schools in ten discrete categories on 14 parameters of education excellence
That the annual EducationWorld India School Rankings published continuously in September for the past six years is the most eagerly awaited and received issue of EW, is an indicator of a strong reform and improvement current flowing within primary-secondary education countrywide. At this time of year, the EducationWorld head office in Bangalore as also our personnel across the country, are flooded with enquiries about this publication’s annual league tables of the country’s top day, legacy boarding and new genre international schools.
This is a very positive development in Indian education because it’s also an indicator of growing awareness within the community of school promoters, principals, teachers, parents and students countrywide that continuous improvement and upgradation not only of teaching-learning standards but also across 13 other parameters of education excellence is crucial for institutional growth and development. Until the EducationWorld India School Rankings league tables were introduced in 2007, even the country’s most innovative and progressive primary-secondary schools were isolated institutions reputed only by subjective word-of-mouth opinions, unsupported by scientific research or objective data. Now parents looking for best school education options for their children have a basis for comparison, even as school managements receive valuable feedback relating to public perceptions of their institutions across a broad range of criteria which enables continuous improvement.
Admittedly, although exhaustive and the outcome of several months of field research across the country, the annual EW league tables are indicative rather than authoritative, based as they are on public perception — albeit of an informed public comprising 8,263 SEC (socio-economic category) ‘A’ parents, educationists, principals and senior teachers. Therefore there is persistent demand from some parents and academics for publication of facts or hard data-based league tables, an impossibly time-consuming and expensive proposition. Nevertheless, in response to demands for infusing some objectivity into the EW India School Rankings league tables, last year with the help of Hyderabad-based Prashant Bhattacharji, an IT professional committed to upgrading school education who runs a portal (www.thelearningpoint.net), we published the results of 100 schools which topped the ISC (class XII) exam of the Delhi-based Council for Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE).
This year we have done several steps better. Not only are the actual class XII or class X (some CISCE affiliated schools don’t offer higher secondary education) results of all CISCE schools sufficiently well-known to be included in the EW league tables featured, despite the Delhi-based Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) having failed to respond to a notice served upon it under the Right to Information Act 2005, to furnish data relating to the class XII examinations performance of every school affiliated with it in 2013-14, we nevertheless accessed this data which is included in this year’s league tables.
“The publication of the annual EducationWorld School Rankings league tables is a valuable public service because it enables parents to make informed choices while selecting schools for their children. Secondly, the league tables stimulate inter-school competition to excel and aspire to high standards across a broad range of parameters. Moreover the inclusion of factual results of every school in CBSE/CISCE examinations has made the EW league table even more useful and valuable to parents and school managements countrywide,” says Dr. Geeta Kingdon, chair of education economics and international development at the Institute of Education, University of London.
The inclusion of factual academic performance data of all sufficiently well-known schools affiliated with CBSE and CISCE (the academic scores of schools affiliated with any of the country’s 32 state examination boards are not included) apart, perceptual academic scores of all listed schools are also included in the league tables, enabling parents and institutional managements to discern the gap between public perception and reality on this parameter. “Through this initiative EducationWorld has given a multifold dimension to education in India. Using various parameters to identify best schools in the country, this survey is the sole national reference material for educators and parents,” says Jairam Balakrishnan, director of Pearson Schools (India).
However as usual, the ranking of schools in each category is on the basis of perceptions of the sample 6,374 fees-paying parents and 1,889 educationists, principals and teachers — a massive four-month exercise conducted by 203 field researchers of the highly-respected Delhi-based market research and opinion polls company Centre for Forecasting & Research Pvt. Ltd (C fore, estb. 2000) which has conducted all the annual school surveys of EducationWorld since 2008.
According to Premchand Palety, promoter-chief executive of C fore, field researchers interviewed 8,263 knowledgeable SECA respondents in 25 cities (Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Pune, Vadodara, Ahmedabad, Chandigarh, Lucknow, Indore, Jamshedpur, Darjeeling, Shillong, Kochi, Jammu, Kanpur, Bhopal, Bhubaneswar, Gurgaon, Noida, Faridabad, Ghaziabad and Dehradun) and asked them to rate over 1,000 preselected (by EducationWorld) schools on 14 parameters of academic excellence, viz, teacher welfare and development, faculty competence, academic reputation, co-curricular activities, sports education, among others. Low-profile schools assessed by less than 25 respondents in their region (east, west, north and south) were not included in the league tables.
“The perceptual scores awarded by respondents under each parameter were totaled to rank schools in ten distinct categories inter se. All parameters were given equal weightage, except the vitally important ‘competence of faculty’ which is given double weightage. The outcome of this elaborate exercise is the most accurate ever comparative school rankings,” says Palety who adds that this year a separate table of Top 10 government day and residential schools has been included for which 1,000 parents in the SEC B, C and D categories were also interviewed.
In the pages following, league tables ranking the country’s most admired schools in ten discrete categories — day co-ed, day-cum-boarding, day girls and day boys; boarding co-ed, boys and girls; and international day, day-cum-boarding and wholly residential are presented. Readers will recall the innovation of grouping day, boarding and international school into separate sub-categories was introduced last year to eliminate apples and oranges type of comparisons.
For complete rankings league tables see