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India’s Top International Day Schools 2017-18

EducationWorld September 17 | Cover Story EducationWorld

Defined by world-class infrastructure, IT-enabled classrooms, diverse student body, and wide range of co-curricular options, the country’s small minority of international schools have set new benchmarks in K-12 education in India

India’s new genre international schools affiliated with offshore exam boards such as Cambridge International Examinations (CIE), UK, International Baccalaureate (IB), Geneva, Edexcel (UK) and Advanced Placement (USA), are the glamour segment of Indian school education. Defined by state-of-the-art infrastructure, world-class residential accommodation, IT-enabled classrooms, diverse student body and wide palette of co-curricular, sports and games options, the country’s small minority of 470 international schools — though often chastised by Left wing academics for elitism and relatively high tuition fees — have set new benchmarks in K-12 education. 

Since hi-end international schools were sub-divided into day, day-cum-boarding and residential institutions five years ago to avoid apples with oranges type comparisons, the CIE and IB-affiliated Dhirubhai Ambani International School (DAIS), Mumbai has dominated the international day schools league table.

This year too, the 12,000-plus sample respondents polled by C fore have voted DAIS India’s #1 international day school for the fifth consecutive year, and top-ranked it on the critical parameters of academic reputation, faculty competence, leadership and special needs education among all categories (day, day-cum-boarding and residential) of international schools. In second and third positions in this year’s league table are also two Mumbai schools — Ecole Mondiale World School (#2) and Oberoi International School (OIS, #3) — which have both retained their 2016-17 ranking. The Riverside School, Ahmedabad has moved up a notch to be jointly ranked #3 this year (#4 in 2016) with OIS.

Comments Nita M. Ambani, founder-chairperson of DAIS and director of Reliance Industries Ltd — India’s largest private multi-business conglomerate (annual revenue: Rs.330,000 crore): “We are absolutely delighted with our #1 ranking for the fifth year in a row. This recognition will inspire everyone in our school community to build on our legacy of accomplishments and set new benchmarks of excellence. We are also honoured by our top ranking on the parameters of academic reputation, faculty competence, leadership and special needs education — all of which significantly impact children’s learning and development. The school’s IGCSE and IB Diploma results have been consistently outstanding and our children have been excelling at national and international levels in chess, robotics, swimming and athletics, among other activities. All this is possible because of the commitment of our faculty who are constantly upgrading themselves. Moreover last year, DAIS was awarded international accreditation by the prestigious Council of International Schools and the New England Association of Schools and Colleges,” says Ambani. 

While there’s no change in the Top 3, further down the Top 10 league table there’s a shake-up this year. The International School of Hyderabad has moved up to #3 (#5 in 2016-17) while CHIREC International, Hyderabad has risen considerably in public esteem to be ranked #5 (7) jointly with Pathways School, Gurgaon which has moved up a notch (6). Oakridge International, Gachibowli, Hyderabad and Aditya Birla World Academy, Mumbai are tied at #6 followed by Podar International School, Mumbai and NES International School (NESIS), Mumbai, jointly ranked #7 — both of which have substantially improved their #12 and #10 rankings of last year.

“I am very pleased with our #7 national and #5 Maharashtra rankings. It shows that our efforts to offer internationally benchmarked education are being recognised nationwide. Over the past two years we have introduced several innovations such as flipped classroom, skills development and one-on-one mentoring, enrichment classes, and personalised learning to develop 21st century skills and capabilities in our students. I believe it’s our commitment to continuously upgrading curriculums and pedagogies to keep abreast with global changes that has helped NESIS advance in the comprehensive EducationWorld national rankings,” says Dr. Balasubramanian V, an alumnus of University of Wales, UK and Walden University, USA, and director of the National Education Society and Saraswathi Vidya Bhavan group of 62 educational institutions with an aggregate enrolment of 47,300 students and 1,820 teachers in Maharashtra. 

The Top 10 table is completed by Sadhbhavana, Kozhikode and Mercedes Benz International, Pune, jointly ranked #8, Scottish High International, Gurgaon and Pathways School, Noida, tied at #9 with Billabong High International, Santacruz (W), Mumbai and Ryan Global School, Mumbai at #10. Among them Scottish High International (ranked #13 in 2016-17) and Pathways (11) are new invitees to the Top 10 table.

Promoted in 2005, Scottish High is rated #1 for value for money and #2 for special needs education among all categories of international schools. “We feel elated with Scottish High’s Top 10 entry, but at the same time are a bit disappointed too. This year our IB diploma results have been outstanding with six of our 17 students scoring more than 40 out of 45, and the average score being 38/45. Therefore we expected to be ranked higher overall, and especially on the parameter of academic reputation. We welcome each and every child whether underprivileged, marginalised or with learning disabilities. That explains our top rank for value for money and special needs education,” says Sudha Goyal, principal and director of the CIE, UK and IB-affiliated Scottish High, which has an enrollment of 2,278 students and 230 teachers.

Further down, the 54-strong league table of India’s best international day schools has undergone a deep churn with several schools improving their ranking this year. Among the biggest gainers are Rustomjee Cambridge International, Mumbai at #11 (#15 in 2016-17), Utpal Shanghvi Global School, Mumbai at #12 (49), Calorx Olive International, Ahmedabad at #15 (20), DPS International, Delhi at #18 (27), and RBK International, Mumbai at #19 (29). Moreover, several previously unranked schools have debuted, indicating growing demand from the middle class for internationally benchmarked schooling. Among the new entrants: Legacy School, Bangalore, ranked #21, Nahar International, Mumbai at #28 and Ardee School, Gurgaon at #29. 

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