A merry game of musical chairs is being played in the country’s top-ranked schools. In wake of the belated liberalisation of Indian education, including the K-12 sector, global multinational school chains entering the moribund education sector and greenfield schools springing up everyday, principals/headmasters and well-qualified, competent subject teachers have become hot property. Therefore, the scramble for best principals and teachers, often with remuneration packages which are stupendous by K-12 standards, hitherto a low-wage island.
Yet perhaps the most beneficial impact of the liberalisation of K-12 education has been the emergence and evolution of high-performing professional principals and teachers who are demanding — and getting — the remuneration and respect they deserve. Skand Bali had moved in 2021 from the top-ranked Hyderabad Public School, Begumpet to the greenfield Adani International School, Ahmedabad, lured by a reportedly unprecedented remuneration package. But reported ‘disrespect’ by Dr. Priti Adani prompted him to put in his papers last month and revert to HPS, Begumpet, which was experiencing a corner office vacancy following the resignation of principal Madhav Saraswat lured away by the top-ranked Good Shepherd International School, Ooty.
Earlier Saraswat had been poached from the Scindia School, Gwalior which under his watch for the first time bested the perennially first-ranked Doon School, Dehradun in the category of boys boarding schools in 2020-21. Likewise Trilok Singh Bisht, for years principal of the top-ranked Jodhamal School, Jammu, who had been poached by DPS, Vasundhra with a huge pay package, quit for alleged disrespect and has signed up with the consistently Top 10 rated Blue Bells, Gurgaon.
This is all for the good. It’s high time professional principals rather than promoters, began to call the shots in the country’s premier schools. It’s a signal for the entire K-12 education sector.