The unwritten rule and convention of Indian journalism is dog doesn’t eat dog. Despite fierce competition for advertising and readership, the established norm of Indian media is to refrain from direct criticism and ridicule. However, sometimes exceptions have to be made to this rule of media propriety.
For the past few years, an enterprise operating under the name and style of VAK Education Today Pvt. Ltd, promoted by Anil Sharma, a former employee of EducationWorld, has been publishing an annual print and online magazine titled Education Today.co. Like EducationWorld (estb.1999) which pioneered its annual EW India School Rankings (EWISR) way back in 2007, Education Today.co also publishes its Special Edition (sic) of India School Rankings in exercise of its constitutional right to do so.
However even if belatedly, your editors have taken exception to this publication’s blatant plagiarisation of parameters ideated by us to evaluate primary-secondary school excellence (academic reputation, individual attention to students, infrastructure provision, value for money, leadership etc) being brazenly replicated in the ET.co. Ditto the categories and sub-categories into which schools are segregated to eliminate apples and oranges comparisons. Flagrant plagiarism apart, the ET.co rankings are downright dishonest with top rankings stretching credibility to breaking point.
For instance, incredibly ET.co’s latest (December 2020) issue ranks NES International, Mumbai, India’s #1 international school ahead of Woodstock, Indus International, Dhirubhai Ambani, Kodaikanal International and Good Shepherd (Ooty) which routinely top the annual EWISR. Within, the virtues of NES International are advertised across nine pages. Moreover, while EWISR is the outcome of a national field and online survey of 12,000-15,000 academics, parents and teachers countrywide, ET.co rankings are reportedly based upon the deliberations of a jury comprising “the most-experienced in the education system”. The identities of members of this grand jury are undisclosed.
Yet the reality that a large number of school promoters and principals enthusiastically participate in ET.co’s patently plagiarised and fraudulent annual rankings farce — and proudly display their knock-off trophies and awards — is a telling commentary on the judgement and discrimination of some of India’s school leaders. Is it possible they are unaware that they are judged by the company they keep?