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India’s top international day-cum-boarding schools

EducationWorld December 2020 | Cover Story

Apart from high-quality globally benchmarked academic education, international day-cum-boarding schools provide day scholars access to excellent co-curricular and sports education infrastructure that residential schools build for boarders. Therefore they are becoming increasingly popular

Indus International School Bangalore Arjun Ray

Within the upscale, elite category of international schools affiliated with offshore school-leaving examination boards, day-cum-boarding schools offer students the best of both worlds. Apart from high-quality globally benchmarked academic education, they also provide day scholars access to excellent co-curricular and sports education infrastructure that residential schools build for boarders. Moreover, they tend to offer weekly board and lodging options that permit students to spend weekends with parents and/or relatives. Therefore, international (co-ed) day-cum-boarding schools are becoming increasingly popular with the growing number of households where both parents are gainfully employed.

In this category of international schools, the Indus International School, Bengaluru (IIS-B, estb.2003), spread across a 28-acre campus in the IT hub of Whitefield with excellent co-curricular and sports facilities and IB (Geneva) affiliation, has seemingly attained the perfect mix. It not only hosts students from over 30 countries around the world but also weekly boarders from the hi-tech city of Bengaluru (aka Bangalore) in which households with both parents working full-time is normative. Therefore for almost a decade, this K-12 fully IB school with 1,200 students, 145 teachers and a teacher training academy on its campus, has been topping the international day-cum-boarding league table with monotonous regularity.

This year as well for the ninth consecutive year, sample respondents comprising 11,368 parents, educationists, principals and teachers have voted IIS-B India’s #1 international day-cum-boarding school with top scores under the parameters of curriculum and pedagogy (including digital readiness), teacher welfare and development, leadership/management quality and community service across all categories of international schools. It’s also pertinent to note that the domination of this league table is not limited to IIS-B. Two affiliated Indus International Schools in Pune and Hyderabad promoted by the Bengaluru-based Indus Trust (estb.2001) are also ranked among the Top 10. IIS-Hyderabad is ranked #6 (cf. #9 in 2019-20) while IIS-Pune has retained its #8 rank of last year.

“We are always thrilled when IIS-B is ranked India’s #1 international day-cum-boarding school. It’s public acknowledgement of the continuous efforts of our management and faculty to innovate and improve across all parameters of school education excellence. This year, I am especially delighted that we are ranked #1 on the newly introduced parameter of curriculum and pedagogy (digital readiness) as the school’s management, teachers, and students with the full cooperation of our parents, pulled out all stops to ensure children’s learning continued online during these challenging pandemic times, which forced closure of all education institutions countrywide. We designed new curriculums and digital pedagogies to meet this unprecedented challenge and are pleased to report that our students have developed advanced collaboration, creativity, adaptability, climate literacy and situational awareness skills,” says Sarojini Rao, an economics and education alumna of Pune and Annamalai universities and principal of IIS-B since 2005.

However, it’s commonly acknowledged that the major reason why Indus International IB schools dominate the international day-cum-boarding sub-category, is the leadership provided for the past 17 years by Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Arjun Ray, CEO of the Indus Trust. A highly decorated five-star general of the Indian Army who is the hands-on CEO of the trust and has masterminded the establishment of all three Indus Schools in Bengaluru, Pune and Hyderabad, and the Indus Early Years Schools in Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Pune and Chennai, Ray has ensured that IIS-B is ranked #1 under the parameter of leadership and management in the annual EWISR for the past five years (2013-17) and again this year.

Following IIS-B are the Pathways World School, Gurugram at #2 and Genesis Global School, Noida ranked #3 jointly with the pioneer The International School, Bengaluru (estb.2000). While they have consolidated their position among India’s Top 3 international day-cum-boarding schools, there’s a minor rearrangement of seating at the Top 5 table. The media-shy Stonehill International, Bengaluru (#6 in 2019-20) and Greenwood High International, Bengaluru (5) have been promoted to #4 as also the Jayshree Periwal International School, Jaipur to #5 (6). Indus International, Hyderabad at #6 (9), Singapore International School, Mumbai and Lalaji Memorial Omega International School, Chennai are jointly ranked #7 (8) and Canadian International School, Bengaluru is ranked #8 (9).

Lalaji Memorial Omega International SchoolDr. S. Bhavanishankar, senior principal of Lalaji Memorial Omega International School, Chennai (LMOIS, estb.2005), is more than satisfied this year’s 11,368 sample respondents have promoted this new millennium day-cum-boarding school to #7 nationally, and especially pleased LMOIS is top-ranked in Tamil Nadu (pop. 67 million) in this elite category.

“We are gratified with the respect accorded by your respondents to LMOIS. In this school, we look forward to the annual EWISR which compels us to measure our institutional effort under all 14 parameters of school education excellence. Moreover, this year’s Covid-19 pandemic disruption has been a great teacher. It has taught us to work collaboratively, accept change and adapt to new learning systems. We greatly appreciate EducationWorld’s efforts to recognise merit and motivate schools during these troubled times,” says Bhavanishankar, an alum of Madras University and the Medical University of South Carolina, USA, and former principal of the well-reputed Chettinad Vidyashram, Chennai, who was appointed principal of LMOIS in 2008. Currently, this Cambridge and IB-affiliated K-12 day-cum-boarding school has 5,200 students and 360 teachers on its muster rolls.

Yet perhaps the most spectacular leap forward in the 34-strong 2020-21 international day-cum-boarding schools league table is of Candor International School, Bengaluru promoted from #21 last year to the Top 10 and ranked #9 jointly with The Aga Khan Academy, Hyderabad (10). The Top 10 table is completed by the Sharanya Narayani International School, Bengaluru (14 in 2019-20) and Sadhbhavana World School, Kozhikode jointly ranked #10 (10).

Candor International School BangaloreDr. Suresh Reddy, founder-chairperson of the Cambridge International and IB-affiliated Candor International School (CIS, estb.2010), is delighted with the entry of this ten-year-old school into the national Top 10. “We thank your informed sample respondents for this recognition. Our promotion is the outcome of the school management and teachers working dedicatedly to introduce new pedagogies and systems which have improved our board exam results with Candor students performing well in IGCSE, the A level and IBDP exams. We have also made a seamless transition to online classes during the Covid pandemic to ensure that academic and all other learning didn’t stop during the past eight months,” says Reddy.

Beyond the Top 10 schools included in the 34-strong league table of sufficiently well-reputed international day-cum-boarding schools as well, there’s been considerable churn.

Among institutions that have risen in public esteem are the Trivandrum International School, ranked #11 (15), Lancers International School, Gurugram #13 (20), Kimberley The International School, Panchkula #14 (23), and Oakridge International School, Visakhapatnam #16 (19). Moreover, two previously unranked schools — Rungta Public School, Bhilai and Kings College India, Rohtak, jointly ranked #18, have debuted in this year’s league table.

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