Monday, June 25, 2012

Schooling redefined

Gone are the days when schools had the middle name of public, model or high. Most schools today function with the middle name of concept, global, world or  international.

Many  NRI’s  returning back to india ,  the children of diplomats and expatriates who are on constant move,  prefer to admit their children in such schools. Our own desi  MNC parents or parents from affluent family  who want their children to experience and learn from  the microcosm of the world  find international school a best bet for their wards. 

 These international schools offer excellent infrastructure, experienced  international  teaching faculty, lays emphasis on project work and facilitates exploring on your own. It does not encourage by rote learning. Another good feature is, it has a  good global student community,  student teacher ratio of anywhere between 15:1 and 25:1 and  is recognized internationally by IGCSE ,IBDP  or CIE for higher classes.  Such  real international schools implement the certifications well and helps these children adapt whenever their parents gets transferred across the globe.

Fair enough till now, but what is not fair is that  almost many such international schools which have mushroomed recently  are run by business men who don’t offer the above certification, infrastructure or faculty. Infact they offer the  CBSE curriculum and easily claim that they offer CBSE syllabus through international methods(whatever that means). Many gullible parents admit their children in such schools were money is minted  from the parents. These schools claim that they will be introducing the international curriculum shortly.

Very recently I met an  upper middle class parent who had  done just her X from a village school.  She was very keen to admit her son in a recently  opened international school and I could easily the dream for her son in her eyes.  She could not be educated and she wanted her son to go to this international school.    Curious to find what the school offered , I posed myself as a candidate for teaching in that school ( I did’nt even belong to that city  and am not a qualified teacher). Initially the man in his 60’s refused saying there was no vacancy since it is a startup school and most teachers had been recruited.  Nevertheless  he told  me to be seated while he was on a telecon and told me to leave my CV so that he could accommodate me when a need arises. While sitting there I noticed that a list of  the recruited teachers ( with their degrees)had been pasted on the notice board. Not even one teacher had an international degree certification or training. ( I too believe that attitude and aptitude for teaching is more important than a gold medal or a training)
Later when I spoke to the man, I found that  he a  retired government official of the education department had been  assigned the task of recruiting teachers.  His native accented English did not match the name of the school.   Here,  I am not using English as a yardstick, but when you quote exorbitant sum as fees for the tag international, then most parents would definitely expect that  the fee should match the standard.  Atleast that is definitely a  pre-requisite  to recruit teachers for an international school.

HE also told me that the school is run by his friend, a  business man.  When I enquired if the school followed the IGCSE or IBDP curriculum. He said, “ No, the international tag is just to distinguish us from other schools. You see, there are too many schools now and if we have to stand up against them, we have to have an identity and that is why the name international.”  I  was’nt  shocked because you can judge whether a school is international or not by seeing the building,  the name( most often it is named after their grandparent, religious guru or their children) the working staff etc.,  I only had  appreciation for the man who atleast admitted the truth.

I immediately alerted that rich young mom and told her to  check what  international standards they offer  before  she coughs up the indecent money and not to get carried away by the shining floors and swimming pool. This school had a beautiful structure but  did not even have an impressive campus and was located bang in the middle of a residential locality sharing its compound with a temple.

 Such is the plight of  education imparted. Parents too announce in social circles that their ward attends a global or international school while the curriculum is Indian. Sadly they shell out  their hard earned money for the tag international.( It costs anywhere between 3-8 lakhs per year in a real international school atleast for class XI).

 Next time  young parents when you look out for international school check their website for information , don’t subscribe  to  the  shiny mirrored surfaces, ac  rooms,  swimming pool, tennis courts ,the plush lobby and the modern glass and chrome structure. Instead find out if they  really offer the  international curriculum. After all  we put in a lot of hardwork and sacrifice family hours  to earn our money.  Don’t we?  Many of them even avail educational loans for their children's education.

I have nothing against the genuine international schools which acts as a springboard for many students aiming for  ivy league schools, but definitely against the so called  ‘International’ schools which have mushroomed just to fill in the kitties of  self centered business men.

(These are my views and experiences based on my surroundings and may differ for many people.)


  1. more than anything its the temperament of individuals who use this to show in the society that their ward is studying in such n such school....moreover the ppl running these institutions are here to earn money and certainly not for any social cause so they do their best to attract the parents....

  2. The explosion of private schools is, I believe, the best thing that has happened in Indian cities. A decade ago there were just a handful of schools and the nightmare of school admissions, unbelievably arrogant principals and awful schools was a deadly cocktail. Now parents have a choice. Sure there are those that defraud, but equally there are those who are very good. Parents have to do their own due diligence and not blindly go by name. I have no problem with a profit motive - minus this we'll be back to the awful situation of too few schools and the mad scramble. Now there is a school at virtually every price point, and the parent can choose where he wants her child to be in. Even if there is some exhorbitancy in price, its far better to "waste" the money in a child's education than in frequenting the T Nagar glitz !!!!

    I am all for corporotisation of education. I would say that, won't I, coming from the corporate fraternity. Corporates in education do more harm than good and as in everything there is the good, the bad and the ugly. Caveat Emptor !

  3. hmmm...forget the international part...schoolslaam schoolsa iruka firstu?? my damager had purchased a flat nearby to his house..that which he had sold back to buy a new flat in an apartment complex promoted by a financial institution that is run by the same management as the school where his kids study. pasanga finance company mathiri gifts and heavy interest rates ellaam undu. Plus..1500sqft area house at discounted rate. Oray catch 20 yr investment policy..
    Pasangaluku padippu thavira ellam sollitharaanga..

  4. beautiful post yar..i can understand what u daughters studied in dubai...and my wifie is a teacher..when she had to work in chennai the maximum salary offered was this with the fee charged from system..hmmm