India’s top-ranked girls day schools 2020-21

EducationWorld November 2020 | Cover Story

This year’s 11,368 sample respondents have voted Carmel Convent, Chandigarh India’s premier girls day school with top scores under the parameters of co-curricular education, infrastructure, value for money and community service

The 2020-21 league table of India’s top-ranked girls day schools has experienced a sweeping makeover. The vintage JB Petit High School for Girls, Mumbai (JBPHS, estb.1865), which was ranked India’s #1 girls school for the past four years, has yielded top rank, trading places with the consistently second ranked Carmel Convent Girls School, Chandigarh (CCGS, estb.1959). This year’s 11,368 sample respondents comprising parents, teachers, principals and senior school students have voted CCGS India’s premier girls day school with top scores under the parameters of co-curricular education, individual attention to students, infrastructure provision, value for money and community service.

“The credit for CCGS’ overdue promotion should be given to our 75 highly qualified and committed teachers who have created stress-free learning environments, enabling the holistic development of our girls. Over the past six months in particular with schools shut because of the Covid-19 pandemic, our teachers have made extraordinary efforts to ensure delivery of online learning to all our 2,039 girls. Therefore, I am happy that your survey respondents have rated our teachers highly. We will continue to strive to retain our top ranking in the future,” says Sr. Mary Supreeta A.C, principal of the CBSE-affiliated Carmel Convent Girls School, Chandigarh.

With CCGS and JBPHS trading places, there is minor readjustment of seating at the Top 5 table. The top two are followed by Modern High for Girls, Kolkata ranked #3 (#4 in 2019-20) jointly with Rajmata Krishna Kumari Girls’ Public School, Jodhpur, which retains its last year’s ranking. La Martiniere for Girls, Kolkata has slipped to #4 (2) even as La Martiniere Girls College, Lucknow has risen in public esteem to be ranked #5 (10) jointly with Loreto House, Middleton, Kolkata which has retained its last year’s #5 ranking. 

Dr. Aashrita Dass, principal of La Martiniere Girls College, Lucknow (LMGC) is upbeat this CISCE-affiliated K-12 school has been promoted to the national Top 5 table and is ranked #1 in Uttar Pradesh (pop.215 million). “We are humbled by our huge promotion and thank your knowledgeable sample respondents for recognising the hard work of our teachers and students. Last year, LMGC celebrated its 150th anniversary with a series of high profile events and competitions. I am happy that your sample respondents have acknowledged our long service record of over a century in the cause of women’s education and emancipation. I am especially pleased that our school has been awarded top score for academic reputation, because our students have consistently produced excellent results in board exams. This year, the ICSE class averaged 91 percent,” says Dass, an alumna of Isabella Thoburn College, Lucknow and Faizabad University who has been associated with LMGC for the past 30 years, first as student and then as a teacher.

Further down the top table, St. Mary’s School, Pune, at #6 and Sacred Heart Sr. Sec School, Chandigarh, at #7 have exchanged their 2019-20 ranks. Two Mumbai schools — J.B. Vachha High School, Dadar and Villa Theresa High School, Peddar Road — are jointly ranked #6. However, the highlight of this year’s league table of India’s best all-girls day schools is the Top 10 debut of three schools. The Bai Avabai Framji Petit Girls High School, Bandra West, Mumbai is ranked #9 (14) and Convent of Jesus & Mary, Bangla Sahib, Delhi (14) is ranked #10 this year together with Sushila Birla Girls’ School, Kolkata which has leapfrogged from #28 in 2019-20.

Diana Marfatia Bai Avabai Framji PetitDiana Marfatia, principal of Bai Avabai Framji Petit (BAFP, estb.1913), Mumbai is enthused by the steady rise of the CISCE-affiliated BAFP from #42 in 2016-17 to #10 in 2017-18 and #9 this year. “This is exhilarating news in the depressing pandemic year. I attribute our improved ranking to the school’s excellent academic reputation and competent faculty — the hallmarks of great education institutions — as reflected by our high scores under these parameters. Moreover, our focus on sports, yoga and other co-curricular activities ensures that we produce well-rounded young women. Even during the closure of schools due to the Covid-19 pandemic, our tradition of providing academic as well as sports and co-curricular education has carried on virtually,” says Marfatia, an alumna of Mumbai University who was appointed principal of the school in 2016. Currently, the school has 926 girl children mentored by 69 teachers.

Yet the most dramatic debut in this year’s Top 10 girls day schools league table is of the CBSE-affiliated Sushila Birla Girls School, Kolkata (SBGS, estb.1994), which has skyrocketed from #28 in 2019-20 to #10 this year. “This overdue promotion is the outcome of the diligent efforts of our teachers and students to excel in academics, co-curricular and sports activities. The growth and development of an education institution rests on the foundational pillars of a committed faculty, supportive management, quality infrastructure and responsive students. We are fortunate to have all these strong pillars. Moreover during these pandemic times, our teachers have smoothly switched to digital pedagogies, inquiry-based learning, flipped classroom and peer-to-peer learning to continue to deliver holistic education. This year’s #10 ranking will motivate us to intensify our efforts to develop talented young women with leadership and entrepreneurial skills,” says Koeli Dey, principal of SBGS which has an enrolment of 1,791 girl students and 139 teachers.

Beyond the Top 10 league table, several all-girls schools have improved their rankings. Among them DAV Girls Senior Secondary School, Lloyds Road, Chennai, which has come up from #24 in 2019 to #11 this year; Uttam School for Girls, Ghaziabad, from #24 to #14, Walsingham House School, Mumbai, from #23 to #16, Shri Ram Centennial School, Patna from #63 to #18 and Notre Dame Academy, Patna from #42 to #21.

Moreover, many all-girls schools ranked beyond the Top 20 have excellent reputations within their states and cities, and often outperform boys and co-educational schools in CBSE/CISCE board exams. For instance, the low-profile Queens College, Indore, ranked #38 all-India, is the #1 girls day school in Madhya Pradesh (pop.73 million); St. Joseph’s Girls High School, Cuttack, ranked #54 nationally is #1 in Odisha; and Lourdes Convent High School, Surat, ranked #57 nationally, is the #1 girls day school in Gujarat (pop.63 million).

Although most greenfield schools tend to be co-educational, there are still many conservative households in India that prefer to send their daughters to all-girls schools for religious and cultural reasons. Therefore, the league table of India’s most admired girls day schools is 100-strong (cf. 53 of boys day schools).

India’s top-ranked girls day schools 2020-21

India’s top-ranked girls day schools 2020-21

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