Delhi NCR: 14 Parameters To Consider Before Selecting a School

Delhi NCR: 14 Parameters To Consider Before Selecting a School

In one of our previous articles What Is The Importance of Nursery Admissions To Parents?, we had talked about the WHAT, WHY & HOW Important are Nursery Admissions in shaping a child’s future & how it is analogous to the success & respect earned by that individual later in life.

According to a survey, only 12% of children change schools after Nursery. Hence, if you know how to choose a school for your kid, you can easily make the second most crucial decision of your life, having a kid obviously being the most important one 😛 And certainly, the second most crucial decision of your life demands an investment of time and energy. A demand equivalent to the efforts you would have put in if you were looking for a new job or a new home for yourself.

There is no single formula for choosing the right school. The selection of a school is always parent-specific. But my experience of talking to thousands of parents in the last 5 years says that parents usually consider the following 6 primary & 8 secondary parameters before selecting and choosing schools for their kid.

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What Do Parents Look For In A School?

6 Primary Parameters:

1) Location:

8 out of 10 parents prefer a school in proximity. Also, after the introduction of a point system in Delhi School Admissions, where distance holds a major weight, it is practically impossible for a parent to get admission in a school beyond 15 KMs unless they have another child in the school or they are an alumnus/staff in that school. So, a parent’s list of dream schools should primarily include those schools that are within a radius of a maximum of 10-15 Km from their home.

Pros of having the school near your house:

  • Saves Time: With a population of close to 2 Crores, commuting in the city is becoming a time-consuming task. Having the school close to the house saves time for both the parents and the child.
  • Saves Cost: Parents have to bear the cost of travel to & fro from the school, which is not included in the school annual fee. Whether it is a bus, a cab or personal transport, distance is directly proportional to the cost of transport.
  • Quality time with family: Education has changed a lot since our time. A child spends 6 hours in school and then has tuitions, extracurricular activities, or some other responsibility post-school hours. Time saved on travel could help families spend quality time with each other.
  • Safety: Children are more vulnerable to diseases and infections. Having the child close to your place can help you quickly pick up the child from the school in case of an emergency. Moreover, trusting the bus/cab driver and other staff is a concern of the hour for all the parents.
  • Convenience: A 10-year-old child becomes independent enough to walk to the school if it is close enough to his/her place. On the other hand, parents do not have to worry about dropping and picking up the kid from school.

Note: Though location plays a major role in selecting a school, my personal experience says that if you are left with two schools, in the end, a good school near your house and a better one a little bit far away, you should go for the one that is far away. One common thing amongst successful people might not be a good college or a good job but certainly a good school. Yes, the child might face difficulties in commuting and you as a parent might face even further challenges of managing this day-to-day hustle but the time invested in this good school will surely pay you back one day.

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2) Annual Fee Structure:

All the decisions in our lives, in one way or the other, are related to money. The annual fee structure of the school also plays an important role in influencing parents’ decisions. Unlike the 1990s, parents these days are willing to pay a higher amount for educating their child as they expect a higher return on this investment in the near future.

On the basis of a basic study on the Internet, we found out that the annual fee structure of the private schools in Delhi NCR can be clubbed into the following categories:

  • 50,000/Annum – Rs. 70,000/Annum
  • 70,000/Annum – Rs. 1 Lac/Annum
  • 1 Lac/Annum – Rs. 1.5 Lac/Annum
  • 1.5 Lac/Annum – Rs. 2 Lac/Annum
  • 2 Lac/Annum – Rs. 3 Lac/Annum
  • 3 Lac/Annum – Rs. 5 Lac/Annum
  • > Rs. 5 Lac/Annum
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3) School Type:

  • Day Schools
  • Boarding Schools or Residential Schools
  • Day Boarding Schools

More than 95% of schools in Delhi NCR are Day Schools. A day school is an educational institution where children are taught and are delivered education during the daytime, the classes typically starting early in the morning and ending in the afternoon, after which students return to their homes.

A boarding school is typically a school far away from the city, residing children in hostels and children get to meet their parents only for 3-4 months a year. Residential School, on the other hand, is categorized into a five-day boarding (where the child gets to spend the weekend with his/her parents).

A Day Boarding extends day school until 5-6 PM, preferably for working parents. A Day Boarding school typically lies in the vicinity of the city, enabling stronger accessibility to the parents, along with providing the competitive environment of a boarding school. A day boarder is a student who remains in the school for extended hours, having their meals, taking part in activities, and doing their prep in the boarding house, but they do not stay overnight. Day boarders are often allocated a study space in the boarding house but do not have a bedroom.

Below is the list of schools in Delhi NCR offering a Day school cum Boarding facility:

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4) Gender:

  • Co-Educational
  • Only Boys
  • Only Girls 

As per Schoolling Pvt Ltd’s 2019 Survey of 650 parents, 1 in 9 parents prefers an Only Girls/Only Boys School for the child. 

Note: Going to a single-gender school is totally a personal call. Both my sisters completed their schooling at St. Thomas’ School, Karol Bagh and they did not face any particular issue later on in their lives. But personally, I would recommend a Co-Educational School over a single-gender school. 

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5) School Management:

  • Traditional/Unconventional Schools: These are basically all the general private schools of Delhi NCR, whether they follow a traditional approach to education or they belong to the new age unconventional school category.
  • Government Schools: Navodaya Vidyalaya/ Kendriya Vidyalaya/ School of Excellence etc.
  • Defence Background: Following are some schools that allocate points to parents belonging to the following categories: Martyrs, Ex-servicemen defence person, Defence paramilitary, Serving as doctors in Defence, Army/ Navy/ Air Force, and others.

Note: There are some schools such as Sanskriti school, Chanakyapuri, that have dedicated seats for all such parents (Defence, etc.) and hence those schools are not a part of the above photo.

  • Convent Schools: Christian & Catholic schools (Convent Schools) have always been targeted by parents in Delhi NCR primarily because of discipline that they maintain, low fee structures, focus on spoken English, and moral values taught. I receive a lot of queries from parents asking for the best Christian/catholic schools in their area.

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6) Education Board Affiliation:

  • CBSE: Central Board of Secondary Education
  • CISCE: Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations
  • IB: The International Baccalaureate
  • IGCSE: International General Certificate of Secondary Education Cambridge University
  • State Board

There are primarily 5 types of education boards in India. Delhi-NCR is amongst the top metropolitans of the country and hence offers a lot of options to the parents.  

  • CBSE: Central Board of Secondary Education
  • CISCE: Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations
  • IB: The International Baccalaureate
  • IGCSE: International General Certificate of Secondary Education Cambridge University
  • State Board: State Government Recognized Board

A lot of you have been concerned over a CBSE vs another board for your child. You have had questions about whether the other boards would be the right fit for your child, is the high fee difference worth going for, what about the focus on extra and co-curricular, does my child have a future in India with an international board certificate? 

Evidently, schools in Gurgaon & Noida have already made that shift to international boards (IB & IGCSE) and had a decent amount of success so far.

See the picture attached. This is my analysis of the 4 famous boards in India: CBSE, CISCE, IB, IGCSE, with details such as Strengths & weaknesses of each, origin, number of schools in India, and other information.

My Prediction: Delhi NCR is emerging as an international board-focused market and by 2030, there will be more than 100 International Board (IB/IGCSE) schools in Delhi NCR.

If you really wanna read everything about the education boards in Delhi NCR/India I would suggest you read the admission guide available on Amazon, authored by me. The first chapter contains a very detailed explanation of all the board with individual pros & cons, schools delivering that board in Delhi, examination patterns, the difference in all the boards etc. Link to the guide: https://amzn.to/2PcM4FZ.

List of Schools:

List of CISCE Schools in Delhi:

  • The Shri Ram School, Vasant Vihar, Delhi
  • The Frank Anthony Public School, Lajpat Nagar, Delhi

List of IB Schools in Delhi/NCR:

  • Apeejay School (International Wing), Sheikh Sarai, Delhi
  • American Embassy School, Chanakyapuri, Delhi
  • KR Mangalam Global School, Greater Kailash 1, Delhi
  • Pathways Aravali, Gurugram
  • Scottish High International School, Gurugram
  • Amity Global School, Gurugram
  • Lancers International School, Gurugram
  • Excelsior American School, Gurugram
  • GD Goenka World School, Gurugram
  • Genesis Global School, Noida
  • Step by step school, Noida

List of IGCSE/ Cambridge Affiliated Schools in Delhi NCR:

  • The British School, Chanakyapuri, Delhi
  • The Ardee School, New Friends Colony, Delhi
  • Kulachi Hansraj Model School, Ashok Vihar, Delhi
  • Darbari Lal DAV Model School, Pitampura, Delhi
  • D.A.V. Public School, Pushpanjali, Delhi
  • MRG School, Rohini, Delhi
  • Apeejay School (International Wing), Sheikh Sarai, Delhi
  • DPS International, Saket, Delhi
  • DPS International, RK Puram, Delhi
  • Maharaja Agarsain Public School, Ashok Vihar, Delhi
  • Richmondd Global School, Paschim Vihar, Delhi
  • Kothari International School, Noida
  • Kunskapsskolan International, Gurugram

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8 Secondary Parameters:

  1. Infrastructure: 

Improved infrastructure makes learning friendlier and enduring for the children. Every school has a fancy building these days to captivate a parent’s interest. What we mean by Infrastructure is the presence of these basic as well as advanced facilities in the school. Now, it’s up to the parents what infrastructure they want out of the below: 

  • Swimming Pool
  • Smart Classrooms
  • Laboratories: Science, 3D Printing, Mathematics, Language, Robotics, Computer
  • Wheelchair accessible Ramps and Infrastructure (There is a mandatory reservation of 25% seats for the disabled children in all private schools of Delhi, so ramps become a necessity)
  • Dance Room
  • Music Room
  • Art Room
  • Drama/Theatre Room
  • Recording Studio
  • Books and Uniform Store
  • Medical Room
  • Activity Room
  • Cafeteria
  • Library
  • Gym
  • 2D & 3D Art Studios
  • Air-Conditioned Classrooms
  • Air-Conditioned Transport
  • Outdoor Play Area
  • Indoor Play Area
  • Auditorium
  • Computers
  • Clean and Functional Washrooms
  • Good Quality Drinking Water Facility
  • Computer-aided Learning

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2) School Performance: 

Parents usually evaluate the performance of a school by categorizing it in the following way:

2.1) Academic Achievements

2.2) Rating & Reviews

2.3) Alumni Achievements

To judge a school’s academic performance, discuss these questions with parents presently sending their child to that school:

  • What efforts does the school make in ensuring better board results?
  • Does the school update the parents about the progress of their child regularly? 
  • Does the school distribute grades and numbers in internal examinations just to ensure the parents that the child is doing well? If so, then it is certainly not a good sign. A child should always fight for each and every mark. A school with 40 as the passing marks would be a better option than a school with 33 as the passing marks.

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3) Extra-Curricular & Co-Curricular Activities:

Nowadays parents understand the need for the holistic development of their child. Along with book lessons, they look for a platform where the child can showcase his latent talent and ignite creativity and zeal in him. Schools providing such platforms certainly attract more students. 

Outdoor Activities: Cricket, Basketball, Football, Lawn Tennis, Hockey, Swimming, Badminton, Squash, Horse Riding, Volleyball, Picnics, Student Exchange Programs, Field Trips.

Indoor Activities: Yoga, Billiards, Table Tennis, Skating, Carrom Board, Chess, and Gymnastics.

Co-Curricular Activities: I believe that if extra-curricular activities promote physical activeness amongst children, then co-curricular activities promote mental awareness. Good schools will always give equal importance to co-curricular and academics. Involvement in co-curricular activities stimulates confidence and eliminates stage fear amongst children, the two best ways to excel in life. A well-built foundation of these values at an early age via co-curricular participation can generate great results for the child. The best thing about extra and co-curricular activities is that they are great sources of learning, yet are fun-filled. 

Examples of co-curricular activities: General Knowledge quizzes, Debates, MUNs, Literature, Poetry, Creative Writing, etc. 

Languages Taught: Any language plays a significant role in one’s life. It helps not just in communicating thoughts and ideas but also works as a tool for forging friendships, uniting cultures, and tying relations. Some common foreign languages adopted by schools in Delhi NCR are Spanish, German, French, Japanese, Chinese, and Portuguese, etc. 

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4) Safety, Security, Health & Hygiene:

It is very essential to ensure that a school has installed proper safety aids such as fire extinguishers, alarms, CCTV coverage, and above all, proper watch guards, doctors, and a proper medical room. It is also important to ensure that the school is keeping a proper check on all the visitors. A school should also have proper medical and emergency facilities for the children. All these are the factors that one should never overlook, especially in an era when safety is a major concern for everyone.

Also, consider the following:

  • Does the school have a dedicated cell for dealing with drugs & alcohol abuse?
  • How does the school handle and respond to cases of bullying, ragging, harassment & violence?
  • Does the school have tie-ups with nearby hospitals and police stations?
  • Does the school have security guards during extra classes that are held after school hours?
  • Does every school transport have a school staff/attendant?
  • Is there any past/ongoing criminal record of the school?
  • Are mobile phones allowed on the school premises? If yes, how is the use of the Internet monitored?
  • Does the school organize safety drills regularly?
  • Is the school well prepared for a fire/earthquake and other natural disaster emergencies? How are the parents notified about such cases?
  • Do the learning spaces have updated and children-friendly furniture?
  • Does the school create a positive environment or are the children dominated and humiliated?
  • Does the school have a proper mechanism for background checks of all teaching and non-teaching staff including drivers, conductors, maids, sweepers, operators, peons, administrative staff, etc.? 
  • How does school frame policies around punishment?

Health & Hygiene

Health and Hygiene should be the topmost priority of the school if it wants to win the hearts of the parents. A child spends 25% of his day at school; an unhygienic environment and poor sanitation increase the chances of diseases and infections. As a parent, you must ensure that the toilets are regularly maintained. They have adequate soap and tissues. Restrooms are separate for both boys and girls. The source of drinking water is healthy and the setup is hygienic. The classes and corridors have dustbins. A well-lit and functional medical room is a must, with a full-time nurse and doctor. 

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5) Gender, Cultural & Ethnic Diversity:

A child should grow in an environment where differences are appreciated. Every individual is unique, and one can learn and grow better when interacting with people of different genders, cultures and backgrounds, beliefs, and ethnicities. Everyone has to deal with different kinds of people throughout life. It is always encouraged to prepare the children from the beginning.

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6) School Assessment:

We’ll categorize the assessment in the following way:

6.1) Basic School Assessment

6.2) Children Assessment

6.3) Teacher Assessment

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7) Focus On Building Child Leadership Values: 

Even though I have put this parameter at the bottom, the schools that focus on this aspect of child grooming can never stay out of demand and will continue to be present in the market even after a century from now. 

Child leadership values are the need of the hour. With such a competitive mindset and availability of better tuition teachers, books, and sources, parents are gradually shifting their focus from academic to other growth dimensions of their child. A dimension, unlike academics, where their child can stand out of the crowd. 

I have seen a change in the mentality of parents within the last 5 years. 4 years back when I used to counsel parents, 70% of parents wanted a 50-50% balance of academics and focus on child leadership values/ grooming of the child at the school.

Times have changed drastically. Now, when I speak with parents, roughly 80% of parents want the schools to focus 60% on child grooming and the rest on other parameters. Parents, too, like the rest of the world, are realizing the importance of grooming. If you were to take my advice, go for a school that focuses on this aspect above any other parameters. 

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8) Some Other Factors:

Following are the factors, which hold very low weight in shortlisting schools but might be considered as important parameters: 

  • Highest class in the school: Primary, Middle, Secondary, and Senior Secondary. You should aim for a school with a senior secondary education since changing schools has its own repercussions.
  • Teaching Medium at School: English, Hindi, Regional Language (Gujarati, Punjabi, Marathi, etc.)
  • Year Of Foundation: Older the school, the better evolved it might be.
  • Student-Teacher Ratio: Lower the ratio, the better it is. The average student-teacher ratio in a Delhi school is somewhere around 25:1.
  • Prospectus: The DOE has explicitly mentioned that a school cannot mandatorily sell a brochure to a parent at the time of admissions. But I always recommend parents to buy the brochure even if it involves some cost. The brochure is not just a representation of the school, but it shows how well a school presents itself. A brochure typically speaks about the management of the school, which represents the brain; the infrastructure, which represents the body; the teachers and staff, which represent the heart; the awards and recognition, which represent the muscles. 
  • Inter-School Competitions: Inter-school competitions are the first opportunities a child can get to experience healthy competition. Such competitions also prepare the child to prepare for subjects out of their regular syllabus and hence gain real-world knowledge. The rewards and recognition motivate the children to compete with utter dedication. Competitions within the school are common but a real school focuses on participating in inter-school competitions and aims at winning them by creating strategies and a core team of teachers and providing essential training to students. 
  • Online Presence & Activeness: Does the school have an updated website that offers online school admissions, job applications, latest updates, and circulars? As a basic level of research, you can also read the Google reviews of the school. The school itself could post these reviews, but so could the reviews on all other platforms like Facebook, etc. Also, pay attention to the number of reviews. As the number of reviews increases, the average rating tends to fall.  A decently old school has a minimum of 150 reviews on Google as in 2019. Another factor you can consider is the presence of official Email IDs of the school, an IVR call facility, and a ‘Contact Us’ option on the website. 
  • Transportation: Self-owned transport system plays a major role in maintaining security and safety. I have seen a lot of good schools, e.g. DPS Rohini, which outsource their transport to a vendor. The schools check the conductor’s, driver’s, and other staff members’ police verification, but since it is an outsourced service, risks are ever-present. A lot of schools have also started setting up GPS devices in the buses which share the live location of the bus with the parents on a mobile App. Air-conditioned buses are something that could/could not be on your priority list. 
  • Laboratories: If classrooms are for theoretical knowledge then laboratories are for practical experience. A school must be equipped with labs such as Science (Physics, Chemistry, and Biology), Computer, Math, Robotics, etc.

This was an exhaustive list of the parameters parents usually consider before selecting a school. You can always pick the ones that seem important to you. 

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SCHOOLLING is a tech-enabled education consultancy aimed at helping parents of school-going children prepare for the admission process, provide all the latest updates, evaluate their chances of getting a seat in the school, shortlist & apply to schools in Delhi NCR, based on location, fee, gender ratio, and 11 other important parent centric parameters.

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