CHENNAI: Calvin, from the comic strip Calvin & Hobbes, took the words out of Bill Watterson, his creator’s mouth when he protested, “You can drag my body to school, but my spirit refuses to go.”
While smidgens of that sentiment will, most likely, always remain in the student, most of Chennai’s schools, both new and established, have worked out ways and means to turn out accomplished, well-rounded individuals with confidence.
It’s always a hard decision, though, to choose the best school for your child. Should one focus on academics or sports? Arts or personality development? Liberal education or life-oriented skills? Can we get a school that provides it all?
To assist in this search, The Times of India commissioned the country’s foremost market research group IMRB International to survey 150 schools in Chennai, and rank them on the basis of five parameters: academic performance, infrastructure, teaching quality, sports facilities and use of technology. The schools were marked on the perception of parents, teachers and alumni. The long-list of 150 was drawn up by TOI’s team of education experts and reporters. The parents, teachers and alumni did not rank the schools to which they were linked — instead, they gave their perceptions of the facilities in other schools. In the second stage, mystery audits were conducted by assessors who visited the schools as parents and collected more information and data to back up the perception module of the survey.
The final rankings contain a mix of central and state board schools that have established themselves as leaders in the city (see box). These are schools that have, over the years, built up their infrastructure, sharpened their teaching-learning methodologies and earned a stout reputation.
In addition to this, we’ve have a list of new-age schools that have caught the eye of stakeholders. These schools have been running for 10 years or less, but have made a distinct impression by breaking the mould and introducing innovations in school education.
Chennai has always been a forerunner in educational trends with schools, from CBSE to IGCSE boards to alternative education systems, you can find it all in this city. Schools here have raced ahead of those in other cities by introducing new teaching methodologies, upgrading curriculum based on empirically proven systems, having a range of extra-curricular activities, focusing on sports and working to develop all aspects of the student body.
Over the next few days, TOI will scrutinize the results of the survey in detail, taking up for examination each of the five parameters. We’ll look at the schools that do well by each of the standards, pay heed to what those associated with these schools have to say and also take a look at some of the broader issues surrounding school education. In addition to the primary city-wide rankings, we will also list the top five schools in each zone based on these individual parameters.
-Times of India, 17th Feb 2014
Top school rankings