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India’s top-ranked international day schools 2023-24

EducationWorld October 2023 | Cover Story EducationWorld

Among international schools the league table of day schools is the lengthiest. Not surprising. They provide globally benchmarked international certification at relatively affordable prices compared to international day-cum-boarding and wholly residential schools.

DAIS

Within the broad category of international schools, the league table of international day schools is the lengthiest and most competitive in the annual EducationWorld India School Rankings (EWISR). Not surprising. Because international day schools provide globally benchmarked K-12 education and international certification at relatively affordable prices compared with international day-cum-boarding and wholly residential schools, which are obliged to make huge investments in housing and related facilities for boarders.

Therefore, they are hugely popular with India’s aspirational and upper middle and elite classes who want to provide their children curriculums, pedagogies and certification of globally reputed offshore exam boards such as International Baccalaureate (Geneva) and Cambridge International (UK). This year the league table of international day schools is 144-strong with schools ranked in 39 cities including several tier III-IV cities, indicating a demand surge for schools providing internationally recognised qualifications and certification.

Since 2013 when EWISR was redesigned to rate and rank India’s most admired primary-secondaries in three broad categories — day, boarding, and international — and several sub-categories (to eliminate apples and oranges type comparisons), Dhirubhai Ambani International School, Mumbai (DAIS, estb.2003), promoted by the heirs of legendary business leader Dhirubhai Ambani (1932-2002), founder-chairman of Reliance Industries Ltd, the country’s most respected and valuable company (annual revenue: Rs.9.75 lakh crore), has consistently been voted India’s premier international day school.

This year too, the 18,928 sample respondents — parents, principals, teachers and educationists — polled by the Delhi-based market research company C fore have voted DAIS the #1 international day school with top scores under the parameters of academic reputation, teacher competence and development, curriculum and pedagogy, co-curricular and sports education, and parental involvement.

“The DAIS community takes immense pride that we are ranked India’s #1 international day school for the 11th consecutive year. I attribute our consistent top rank to the extraordinary commitment of our highly talented faculty and leadership team; emphasis on professional development of teachers; continuous review of curriculum and implementation of innovative pedagogies; focus on inclusive education and children’s holistic development, and parents’ unwavering trust. The school’s outstanding exam results, placement of students in the world’s top universities, excellent performance in sports and co-curricular education, and accomplishments of our alumni are a testament to our school’s education philosophy and practices. It explains our top scores on most of the EW survey parameters of education excellence. Moreover, as part of DAIS’ transition to the IB PYP and MYP frameworks, we have recruited many more teachers and school leaders, improving our teacher-pupil ratio to 1:6,” says Nita Ambani, founder-chairperson of DAIS and Reliance Foundation (estb.2010), the philanthropic initiative of Reliance Industries. Currently, DAIS has an enrolment of 1,087 students mentored by 197 teachers.

According to Ambani, DAIS is at “the cusp of an exciting transformational journey as we are eagerly preparing to unveil the Nita Mukesh Ambani Junior School”. “This state-of-the-art campus will feature flexible learning spaces, seamless technology integration, modern laboratories for hands-on learning, comprehensive facilities for sports and co-curricular activities. Led by our Vice-Chairperson, Isha Ambani Piramal, the focus of this new school will be on empowering learners with inspirational, experiential and futuristic education,” adds Nita Ambani.

While DAIS has maintained its dominant position at top table, further down there are minor rearrangements in the seating order. Aditya Birla World Academy, Mumbai has retained its #2 rank (#2 in 2022-23) jointly with the Oberoi International School, Mumbai (2) and Ecole Mondiale World School, Mumbai followed by Jamnabai Narsee International School, Mumbai at #3 (3) jointly ranked with the Pathways School, Gurgaon (4). Utpal Shanghvi Global School, Mumbai is promoted to #4 (5) co-ranked with JBCN International School, Parel, Mumbai (#6) followed by The Riverside School, Ahmedabad at #5 (7). Notably, the Top 5 table is dominated by schools sited in Mumbai — India’s commercial and financial capital which contributes 30 percent of all income tax collections in the country.

Pathways Gurgaon

Capt. Rohit Sen Bajaj, director of the Pathways School, Gurgaon (PSG, estb.2010) is “honoured and privileged” that PSG is ranked among India’s Top 3 international day schools and #1 in Delhi NCR. “The national Top 3 rank will motivate our entire team to continue to strive for all-round educational innovation and excellence. We were one of the first IB continuum schools to introduce the IB Career-related Programme last year enabling students to prepare better for higher education and chosen careers, and one of two schools in India to host the IB’s Festival of Hope 2023. It’s very reassuring to learn that Pathways Gurgaon has been awarded high scores for faculty competence and curriculum and pedagogy, because high-quality teachers and pedagogy innovations are our school’s defining features. We have successfully incorporated design thinking, collaborative and experiential learning pedagogies which have transformed our classrooms into vibrant learning spaces where children explore, question, inquire and apply knowledge. We are fully committed to nurturing compassionate global citizens,” says Bajaj. Currently, PSG has 1,575 students mentored by 270 teachers on its muster rolls.

Beyond the Top 5, there has been major upheaval in the league table of India’s most respected international day schools. Ascend International School, Mumbai has lost ground and is ranked #6 (4) jointly with Podar International School, Santacruz (W), Mumbai (6) and KC High Chennai (5).

Oberoi International

The mint-new Learners International School, Noida has made a respectable debut at #7. Bombay International School has been awarded a big promotion and is ranked #7 (13) jointly with CHIREC International School, Hyderabad (9). Ahmedabad International School has also risen in public esteem and is ranked #8 (14) jointly with Legacy School, Bengaluru (8) and CP Goenka International School, Oshiwara, Mumbai (8). Heritage International Xperiential School, Gurugram is ranked #9 (10) jointly with Mahindra International School, Pune (#10). Three Mumbai schools share the #10 rank — Ryan Global School, Andheri (10), Rustomjee Cambridge International School (12) and Chatrabhuj Narsee School, Kandivali East (12).

It’s pertinent to note that 24 schools are ranked in the Top 10, indicating a demand upsurge for high-quality international day schools as well as intense competition inter se to attract best students and teachers.
Sanchita Raha, principal of CHIREC International, Hyderabad (estb.1989) is pleased that the school has improved its national rank from #9 last year to #7 in 2023-24, and in particular that it is top-ranked in the state of Telangana (pop.38.2 million).

CHIREC

“We are overjoyed to learn that CHIREC is ranked #1 in Hyderabad and Telangana despite the phenomenal increase in the number of international day schools in this city and state. However, we were expecting a higher national ranking. Nevertheless, we are thankful to your survey respondents for consistently ranking us among India’s Top 10 international day schools. I credit our upward trajectory to our commitment to academic excellence, a culture of lifelong learning, students’ emotional well-being, effective leadership, and robust community support. Our well-trained teachers provide exceptional teaching-learning as reflected in our high scores under the parameters of academic reputation and curriculum and pedagogy. Moreover, over the past year, our emphasis has been on strengthening the school’s Culture of Care and improving social and emotional well-being services. We have successfully integrated SEL modules into classroom instruction, resulting in discernible improvements in students learning outcomes. Therefore we feel we deserve higher scores under the parameter of social and emotional well-being services,” says Raha, an alumna of Calcutta and Jadavpur universities with over 24 years of rich and varied education experience (Heritage School, Kolkata and Asian University for Women, Chittagong, Bangladesh), appointed principal of the school in 2019. Currently, CHIREC has 1,505 students and 142 teachers on its musters.

Further down the table, some schools have been awarded substantial promotions. Among them: Vikaasa World School, Madurai to #12 (#21 in 2022-23), JBCN International School, Oshiwara, Mumbai to #15 (20), DPS International Edge, Gurugram to #20 (25) and Prakriti School, Noida to #21 (72).

Several previously unranked schools have also debuted. Prominent among them are Adani International, Ahmedabad at #17, Ruh Continuum School, Coimbatore at #20 and JBCN International School, Chembur, Mumbai at #27.

While high rank in the national league table of international day schools is important as it enables countrywide comparisons under each parameter, at best it confers bragging rights. For obvious reasons, civic rank is most important for all day schools.

Thus schools ranked modestly in the national table enjoy high reputation in large, populous cities. For instance, Choitram International ranked India #28 is Indore’s top-ranked international day school; Bloomingdale International, Vijayawada ranked #26 nationally is numero uno in Vijayawada (pop.2.2 million) and Billabong High International, Kanpur Cant, all-India #80 is #1 in Kanpur (pop.3.2 million).

Also read: India’s best international day schools 2022-2023

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