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EducationWorld India’s best Co-ed day schools 2023-24

EducationWorld September 2023 | Cover Story EducationWorld

The league table of co-ed day schools is invariably the lengthiest in the annual EW India School Rankings (EWISR), introduced in 2007. In EWISR 2023-24, over 3,000 co-ed day primary-secondary schools in 433 cities and towns countrywide are ranked nationally, in the states and cities

Vasant Valley

Vasant Valley’s Rekha Krishnan: teacher enrichment outcome

One indicator that K-12 education in India is progressing in the right direction is that the league table of Day Co-ed schools is the lengthiest in the annual EducationWorld India School Rankings (EWISR) introduced in 2007. In EWISR 2023-24 which ranks the country’s most well-reputed schools in three umbrella categories — Day, Boarding,

International — and in 14 sub-categories (e.g, Day coed, boys and girls) to provide a level playing field to all schools by eliminating apples and oranges type comparisons, over 3,000 day co-ed primary-secondary schools in 433 cities and towns are ranked nationally, in the states and cities. The co-ed day schools national league table in this issue stretches to 79 printed pages! However in the case of day schools the national ranks are of limited value and city/town rankings are of greater import because of ease of access. At best high national ranking confers bragging rights. For day scholars town and city rankings are of prime importance (see p.50).

That said, this year’s sample respondents have voted the Vasant Valley School, Delhi (VVS) promoted by media tycoon Aroon Purie in 1990 as India’s #1 co-ed day school of 2023-24. With top scores under five of the 14 parameters of school excellence devised by your editors, viz, competence of teachers, academic reputation, curriculum & pedagogy (incl. hybrid readiness), leadership, mental and emotional well-being services and value for money, VVS has pipped Step by Step, Noida (#1 in 2022-23) and Heritage Xperiential Learning School, Gurugram which are jointly ranked second this year. Inventure Academy, Bengaluru at #3 (#4), Smt. Sulochanadevi Singhania School, Thane #4 (#7), the Valley School, Bengaluru (6) and Vidyashilp Academy Bangalore (6) jointly ranked #5 this year complete top table.

Further down the national Top 10 table, Sardar Patel Vidyalaya, Delhi has made a great leap forward in the esteem of this year’s informed sample respondents and is ranked #6 (13). The invariably high-ranked The Shri Ram School, Delhi has conceded some ground at #6 (5); Nirmal Bhartia, Delhi, Sanskriti, Delhi and Jamnabai Narsee, Mumbai are all ranked #7. Sishya School, Chennai, the Krishnamurti Foundation’s KFI School, Chennai are jointly ranked #8 with the former being given a big promotion from #16 last year. CHIREC and Glendale Academy, Hyderabad are jointly ranked #9 and three schools — Springdales, Delhi (11) Mother’s International, Delhi (5) and Vidyaranya, Hyderabad (11) tied at #10, complete the Top 10 table of 2023-24.

Rekha Krishnan the highly qualified (history and education postgrad of Delhi and Northwestern (USA) universities with teaching experience in top-ranked schools including Modern High, Birla School and La Martiniere Boys, Kolkata) and principal of Vasant Valley School, Delhi since 2006, attributes this 34-year-old school’s promotion to India #1 to the high quality of its teachers. “I am very pleased that your sample respondents have awarded VVS the highest score under this parameter because a school is only as good as its teachers. We invest great effort and resources in our teacher enrichment programme and I am happy that this investment has paid off. I am also pleased about the high score we have been awarded under the parameter of students’ emotional and mental well-being which is directly connected with competence of faculty. Moreover we have introduced an innovative environment sustainability programme which includes better-to-bus and car-pooling programmes to reduce children’s carbon footprints and a Japanese style ‘time-to-tidy’ initiative under which children clean their classrooms before and after school. These programmes have received wide publicity and probably account for our promotion this year,” says Krishnan. Currently this CBSE and Cambridge International (UK)-affiliated school sited on an eight-acre campus in the heart of South Delhi has 1,400 children mentored by 161 teachers on its muster rolls.

Sishya School

Sishya’s Dr. Salim Thomas (centre right): everyday joyful learning priority

Dr. Salim Joseph Thomas, president of the Kit Thomas Education Society, promoter of the Sishya School, Adyar (SSA), Chennai which has moved forward to #8 nationally (16) and #1 Tamil Nadu and Chennai, is also satisfied that this 59-year-old school has been “restored to its natural position”. He is especially pleased that SSA has been awarded high scores under the parameters of teacher competency, academic reputation, sports, individual attention to students, parental involvement and mental and emotional well-being of children.

“The high scores awarded to us under these parameters are mutually reinforcing. Competent teachers ensure that children receive holistic education comprising good academic, co-curricular and sports education which ensures that our children have a joyful learning experience everyday they come to school. The mental and emotional well-being of children is high priority for us in SSA and I am gratified with our high score under this parameter. Awareness of the good work we are doing under these inter-connected parameters of school excellence is behind our big promotion this this year,” says Thomas, an alumnus of the Lawrence School, Lovedale, Armed Forces Medical College, Pune and officer of the Indian Navy (1971-86) who came aboard SSA promoted and established by his father, the legendary K.I. (‘Kit’) Thomas in 1974.

Meena Kak & Ms Misra

LSA’s director Meena Kak (right) & principal Jaya Mishra: rightful rank

Beyond the Top 10, several well-known and respected schools have risen in esteem of the informed public and promoted into the Top 20. While most of them have moved a notch up or down, the Lakshmipat Singhania Academy, Kolkata (LSA, estb. 1996) has been awarded a huge promotion by this year’s sample respondents. Ranked a modest #33 in 2022-23, it has been vaulted to #11 this year with excellent scores under the parameters of academic reputation, co-curricular and sports education, parental involvement, and value for money. Perhaps more important, together with the Heritage School, LSA is co-ranked Kolkata and West Bengal’s #1 co-ed day school this year.

“This is most welcome news. We have been waiting for years to be awarded our rightful rank as Kolkata’s #1 co-ed day school, even if we have to share the honour this year. As indicated by the high scores awarded to LSA under the parameters of academic reputation, co-curricular and sports education, our teachers are providing our students well-balanced education which has translated into the city’s highest score under children’s mental and emotional well-being. All this is the outcome of continuous investment in teacher training and professional development. Our teachers are confident professionals who have voluntarily stepped forward to write the CENTA test for EWISR 2023-24. They are given full freedom and agency to experiment with new pedagogies and innovations in their classrooms. Rising awareness of these factors in the state and Kolkata explains our big promotion this year,” says Ms. Meena Kak, an organic chemistry postgrad of Kanpur University who began her teaching career in Pitts Modern School, Gomia (Jharkhand), and served as principal of the Hartley School, Kolkata (1997-2004) and the Birla-promoted Ashok Hall Higher Secondary, Kolkata (2004-07) before signing with LSA as principal in 2007, and was appointed Director in 2020. Currently, the CBSE-affiliated LSA set in a picturesque 1.35 acre campus in upscale South Kolkata, has 1,950 children mentored by 148 teachers on its musters.

Among the EWISR 2023-24 Top 20 other schools which are awarded big promotions this year are DPS, Bangalore East to #12 (from #17 last year); Sri Venkateswara International, Delhi to #13 (21); Shiv Nadar School, Gurugram #14 (17); Udgam School for Children, Ahmedabad #16 (18); DPS, Bopal, Ahmedabad #16 (19); Shiv Nadar School, Noida #18 (20); and Shishuvan School, Mumbai #20 (25).

Udgam

Udgam School’s Manan Choksi (centre right): core values focus

Manan Choksi, Director of the Udgam School for Children, Ahmedabad (USC, estb.1965) is delighted that USC has been promoted to #16 nationally from # 18 in 2022-23 (and #35 in the previous year) and especially #1 in Ahmedabad and Gujarat, although it is obliged to share top billing with DPS, Bopal, Ahmedabad (#19 last year).

“I believe that our steady ascent to the top is due to our focus on core values — continuous teacher training to deliver quality education to children and capability to adapt to changing times. We accord high priority to teacher welfare and development with all teachers obliged to undergo 50 hours of training in internal and external workshops annually, with best teachers transforming into master trainers. Therefore I am satisfied with our high score under the parameters of teacher welfare and development which has ensured good scores under curriculum and pedagogy and sports/fitness education. I am also pleased with our score under parental involvement as we believe that parents are our partners in delivering quality education to our children,” says Choksi who modestly attributes USC’s top score under the leadership parameter to the school’s “dedicated teachers”.

The league table of co-ed day schools is the lengthiest of all sub-categories in the annual EWISR and remains so in EWISR 2023-24 with over 3,000 of the country’s best schools rated under 14 parameters of school excellence and ranked nationally, in the states and over 400 cities and towns across the country. Therefore it’s impossible to comment on the rise and decline in the rankings of more than a handful of schools.

Yet at the risk of belabouring a point made earlier, when assessing the merits of day schools, it’s advisable to bear in mind that city/town rankings are more important than national and state rankings. For self-evident and practical reasons, the parameter ratings and ranks of day schools in their host cities are more important for parents searching for most suitable schools for their progeny — and teachers searching for enabling and fulfilling employment.

For this reason in the pages following, city and state rankings are given precedence over the national league table which is nevertheless worth studying because it provides detailed parameter scores of over 3,000 of India’s most reputed schools.

That’s why the annual EWISR is indisputably the largest and most detailed schools ranking survey worldwide, the outcome of over six months of labour and application. There’s valuable, actionable information in the survey for school managements, teachers, parents and students.

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