The uniqueness of EWISR, introduced in 2007, is that institutional rankings are based on careful evaluation of 14 discrete parameters of school education excellence. Moreover, schools are grouped within their own categories to eliminate apples and oranges type comparisons, writes Dilip Thakore & Summiya Yasmeen.
It’s the time of year when the annual EducationWorld India School Rankings (EWISR) are presented to the public. Especially the educator and parents communities. For principals, teachers and educators, the annual EWISR is important and of interest because it enables them to learn the reputation of their school in relation to competitor institutions. For parents the annual EWISR is important because it may influence a change of institution to ensure their children are in schools that best develop their special aptitudes.
The uniqueness of EWISR, introduced in 2007, is that institutional rankings are based on careful evaluation of 14 discrete parameters of school education excellence. Moreover, schools are grouped within their own categories to eliminate apples and oranges type comparisons. For instance, co-ed day-cum-boarding schools are ranked with each other and not with day boys or girls schools. By the same logic, all ranked schools are divided under the umbrella categories of day, boarding and international schools.
Another special feature of the annual EWISR is that it is a national survey based on field interviews. Ab initio, your editors resisted availing the easy option of constituting a jury of eminent educationists and enclosing them in a room to award scores under our chosen parameters of excellence and total the scores to rank schools. We were aware that with education being accorded low priority by government and the media — EW launched in 1999 with the mission to “build the pressure of public opinion to make education the #1 item on the national agenda”, was the first news and features periodical in this space — there was sparse awareness even among experienced educationists about schools beyond their parishes.
Therefore, we chose the more painstaking — and expensive — option of engaging the Delhi-based Centre for Forecasting & Research Pvt. Ltd (C fore, estb.2000), a highly reputed market research and opinion polls company, to conduct field interviews with 12,000-14,000 educationists, principals, teachers and parents countrywide to rate and rank schools in their regions under chosen parameters of primary-secondary education excellence.
Since then over the past 16 years, the annual EWISR based on this methodology — which eliminates subjectivity and bias to the maximum extent possible — of rating and ranking over 4,000 of the country’s primary-secondaries in over a dozen separate categories and under 14 parameters of excellence — has evolved into the gold standard of school rankings. Sure, with the success of EWISR which has achieved global renown — schools in several neighbouring countries have pleaded for inclusion — competitive rankings have sprung up. But school managements and parents are advised caution against relying on thinly plagiarised versions of EWISR. Firstly, because they suffer the infirmity of jury-based rankings alluded to above, and also because of a strongly suspect cash-for-rank nexus in most of them.
Be that as it may, in EducationWorld we have little to complain about because the comprehensive annual EWISR generates tremendous enthusiasm across the country with schools anxious to be included and ranked with their peer institutions — a welcome sign of widespread intent to improve learning outcomes and provide well-rounded education across all parameters. And over time based on the feedback we receive, the annual EWISR has continued to improve, adding or substituting parameters in the interests of offering an increasingly holistic profile of ranked schools. Our intent is to encourage school managements to provide a wholesome education experience to students which will enable and prepare them to derive the full benefit of higher education and/or transform into productive professionals in their chosen workplaces.
It was this determination to continuously improve, that following feedback from the large number of newly-promoted, high-quality schools that it was “unfair” to compare them with established ‘legacy’ schools — some of them over a century old — after discussion with Premchand Palety, promoter-CEO of C fore, our rankings survey partner ab initio, last year we introduced a new head titled Legacy schools in the Day Co-ed, Day-cum-Boarding, Day boys, Day girls; Boarding co-ed, Boarding boys and Boarding girls categories. International schools which are of relatively recent origin were spared this segregation as are Government, Special Needs and Budget Private Schools (BPS).
The EWISR 2023-24 is the outcome of an elaborate exercise because of the more objective field survey methodology employed. During the period May-August this year, 127 field researchers interviewed 18,928 ‘sample respondents’ comprising educationists, principals, teachers and SEC (socio-economic category) ‘A’ fees-paying parents and senior students in 34 cities across India. In addition, 826 SEC B, C and D parents with children enrolled in government and BPS were interviewed to rate and rank schools in these categories.
“Every respondent was shown a list of pre-selected schools in the country’s four regions — East, West, North and South, as they were more likely to be familiar with schools in their own region. Then they were asked to rate the schools that they were aware of on a ten point scale against 14 parameters of primary-secondary education excellence, viz, teacher welfare and development, competence and commitment of faculty, academic reputation, co-curricular activities & internationalism, individual attention to students, curriculum and pedagogy (hybrid learning readiness), sports, infrastructure provision, value for money, leadership/management quality, parental involvement, mental & emotional well-being services, provision for special needs children, pastoral care (only for residential schools) and community service. Schools assessed by less than 25 persons were not considered for ranking. The scores awarded by sample respondents under each parameter were totaled and used for ranking schools in each sub-category. To make the findings more user friendly, the ten point score against each parameter was multiplied by 10 and rounded to the nearest whole number. All parameters are given equal weightage score of 100 except ‘Competence of faculty’ which was given a maximum score of 200. For Legacy schools, an additional parameter — Quality of alumni — was used,” says Premchand Palety, an alum of the Panjab Engineering College and Fore School of Management, Delhi, who acquired valuable professional experience with ORG, India’s pioneer retail market research company for over a decade prior to promoting C fore in the millennium year.
Moreover, to add an element of objectivity to perceptual scores awarded by sample respondents under the important parameter of teacher competence, since 2021 all ranked schools have been invited to nominate six teachers to take a 30 minutes (20 questions) English, maths and science online test, administered by the Bengaluru-based Centre for Teacher Accreditation (CENTA, estb.2014 — India’s largest teachers online platform which provides testing, certification, training and career development programmes for K-12 teachers). In EWISR 2023-24, 25 percent of schools deputed teachers to take the test and improved their scores under this critically important parameters.
In addition, this year to add an element of objectivity under the parameter of academic reputation, we have introduced the Students Critical Thinking Test in partnership with LogIQids, an ed-tech company promoted in 2016 by IIT/IIM alumni to develop students’ critical thinking, problem-solving, and creativity through gamified worksheets comprising age-appropriate puzzles and brain teasers.
In early June, all EWISR schools were invited to nominate students (10 each from classes VI-VIII) to write a 45-minute online Students Critical Thinking Test. In its first year, this test has attracted mild response with 15 percent of schools deputing students to write the Critical Thinking Test
In this (September) Part I issue, we present national, state, city and parameter league tables of Day schools (co-ed day, boys, girls and day-cum-boarding) as well as Vintage Legacy Day schools within these sub-categories. The next Part II issue (October) will feature Boarding, International, Government, Special Needs, Philanthropy and Super 30 Budget private schools league tables.
If you discover more comprehensive ratings and rankings of primary-secondary schools in any country worldwide, you will be presented a purse of Rs.50,000.
For the complete table: EW India School Rankings 2022-23 – Top & best schools in India