The scale and depth of EWISR 2022-23 is unprecedented in India and worldwide. Over a period of four months, 122 C fore field researchers conducted interviews in 28 cities across the country. They persuaded 14,221 parents, teachers, principals, educationists and students to rate 4,000 primary-secondaries under 14 parameters of school excellence, writes Dilip Thakore & Summiya Yasmeen.
For centuries and even 150 years after British educationist and administrator Thomas Macaulay imposed the formal English education system upon the Indian subcontinent, the overwhelming majority of parents enrolled their children in local schools on the basis of informal consultation and recommendation of friends and relatives. This continued to be prevalent practice after enlightened administrators permitted the establishment of high-end boarding schools in the country’s salubrious hill stations of Mussoorie, Sanawar in the north and Ootacamund and Kodaikanal down south in the mid-19th century. Modelled on imperial Britain’s famous boarding schools for children of administrators of the empire, they also admitted children on the basis of word-of-mouth publicity and recommendations of knowledgeable and influential members of society.
However towards the end of the 20th century after Dr. Howard Gardner, professor of cognition and education at Harvard University, produced his path-breaking Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences (1983) and Multiple Intelligences: New Horizons in Theory and Practice (1993) which posited that every child/individual is gifted with one or more of eight major “intelligences”— musical, bodily-kinesthetic (relating to dance, sports capabilities), logical-mathematical, linguistic, spatial (navigation, visual arts), interpersonal (understanding people), intrapersonal (self-study, self-awareness) and naturalist (“high degree of awareness to distinguish diverse plants, animals, mountains or cloud configurations in their ecological niche”) — in various combinations, it became abundantly clear that schools can be scientifically chosen to develop the highest intelligences of children. Even the IQ test developed by French psychologist Alfred Binet (1857-1911) and its subsequent variations, including SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test), which measure only the linguistic and mathematical capabilities of students, became inadequate.
Therefore somewhat influenced by the Times Higher Education and QS World University Rankings (WURs), which evaluate the world’s most respected higher education institutions on six parameters (academic reputation, employer reputation, faculty-student ratio, international faculty ratio, student body diversity, citations per faculty etc), in 2007 your editors introduced the EducationWorld India School Rankings (EWISR) which for the first time rated and ranked the country’s most reputed primary-secondaries under a dozen parameters of school education excellence to assess their capability to develop the multiple intelligences of students.
Since then over the years, the number of parameters of K-12 education excellence under which schools are rated, has risen to 14 including teacher welfare and development, teacher competence, infrastructure, co-curricular and sports education, parental involvement, academic reputation, curriculum and pedagogy, internationalism, mental and emotional well-being services, among others.