India’s best international residential schools 2021-22

EducationWorld December 2021 | Cover Story Magazine

International residential schools affiliated with offshore school-leaving examination boards are the most glamourous and exclusive schools countrywide. This explains why the league table of these schools is the smallest in EWISR

Woodstock School, Mussoorie: India's best international residential schools

Woodstock’s Craig Cook: India’s best international residential schools

Although many — perhaps thousands — of K-12 schools across the country incorporate the descriptive ‘international’ into their institutional titles, in the annual EducationWorld India School Rankings (estb.2007), international schools are narrowly defined. For evaluation and ranking purposes, the prerequisite is that they must be affiliated with offshore international school examination boards such as Cambridge International (UK), International Baccalaureate (Europe) and College Board’s Advanced Placement (USA).

These offshore exam boards prescribe elaborate and detailed infrastructure, teacher-pupil ratios, teaching training and co-curricular and sports education norms verified by strict audits as conditions precedent for affiliation. This explains why genuine international schools offer excellent sports and co-curricular facilities, expatriate faculty and international curriculums and pedagogies. It also explains why the league table of international residential schools is the smallest in the annual EWISR.

In the latest 2021-22 league table of India’s most admired international residential schools, there are no surprises with all eight institutions retaining their last year’s ranks. Topping the league table for the seventh consecutive year is the vintage Woodstock School, Mussoorie. Constructed in 1854 by American missionaries on a scenic 250-acre campus in the Himalayan foothills offering breathtaking vistas, Woodstock has cemented its position as India’s oldest, wholly residential international school distinguished by its American curriculums and pedagogies, excellent pastoral care and extensive co-curricular and sports education facilities. This year’s 11,548 sample respondents have again voted the IB-affiliated Woodstock the country’s #1 international residential school with highest scores under the parameters of pastoral care and mental and emotional well-being services across all categories of international schools (day, day-cum-boarding and residential).

“We are thrilled with this re-endorsement as we carry forward our legacy of sustained excellence. Although the government-mandated pandemic lockdown significantly disrupted our activities, we made a determined effort to transform the pandemic crisis into an opportunity to immerse ourselves in online teaching-learning, while also taking care of students and their mental health. That’s why I am delighted with our top score under the parameter of mental and emotional well-being. We will continue to provide students wholeness and stability through our holistic offline and online learning pedagogies,” says Dr. Craig Cook, an alumnus of Biola University, California and Ateneo de Manila University, Philippines with over 30 years of teaching and admin experience in schools and community development projects in the US, Philippines and Indonesia, who was appointed principal of Woodstock in 2019. Currently, the school has 419 boarders and 130 staff and teachers on its muster rolls.

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For the fifth year in succession, the Good Shepherd International School, Ooty (GSIS) is ranked #2 followed by Kodaikanal International School (KIS) at #3. Sprawling over an 180 acre campus, GSIS, lovingly nurtured for four decades by visionary-educationist Dr. P.C. Thomas (1943-2020) in Ootacamund aka Ooty — “the queen of hill stations” — offers unmatched academic, sports and co-curricular education to its 600 boys and girl children, and is peninsular India’s premier co-ed international boarding school affiliated with Cambridge International and IB, and accredited by the Council of International Schools (USA). Unsurprisingly, it is top-ranked on the parameters of infrastructure, safety and hygiene and individual attention to students (teacher-student ratio 1:4) across all international schools (day, day-cum-boarding and fully residential).

Good Shepherd International School: India's best international residential Schools

GSIS’ Jacob Thomas (centre): health & safety priority

“We are honoured to be ranked India #2 and #1 in Tamil Nadu for the fifth consecutive year. During the pandemic year, we made extraordinary efforts to incorporate as many co-curricular activities into the online model to supplement academic learning. Now as we have reopened school, our in-house Covid-19 Task Force has ensured implementation of several preventive measures and SOPs to safeguard the health and safety of every student and staff residing on the campus. In addition, we have all facilities to cope with quarantine and treatment. Therefore, I am especially pleased that your sample respondents have awarded GSIS top scores for safety and hygiene and individual attention to students,” says Jacob Thomas, president of GSIS since last year. A business administration graduate of the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, Jacob forsook a successful career in the US in the IT sector (senior director, NetApp Inc, a Fortune 500 company) to keep the GSIS legacy alive after Dr. Thomas passed away last year.

Further down the league table of India’s Top 8 international residential schools, there is no change in last year’s seating order. UWC Mahindra College, Pune, ranked #4, Hebron, Ooty #5, Cathedral Vidya, Lonavala #6, SCAD World School, Coimbatore #7 and MIT Pune’s Vishwashanti Gurukul #8 have all retained their 2020-21 rankings.

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