November 22, 2012

Choosing a school for your child

Parents are busy drawing up a list of the perfect school for their children.After all,a school moulds a childs overall development.Vidyalaxmi writes

It is that time of the year when parents are busy deciding on the school they would like to have their child studying in.The next academic year is still 6-7 months away,but parents have started drawing up their choice of schools.

Just like a college admission or admission to an MBA course,the little ones and their parents go through the process of filling up application forms,attending interviews and waiting for the final admission list.This is seen by many parents as the important first step for a good education for their child.

I have been studying the curriculum and the teaching methods of various schools in my suburb for eight months now, says Sandeep Bachhe,a technical analyst.

I identified 7-8 schools based on proximity,feedback and the curriculum.Then I ensured I met parents whose children were already studying in these schools,to get a first-hand feedback.Based on the parents'feedback and our expectations,I shortened the list to three schools and picked one from them, says Sandeep.

The fact is,parents want their kids to get the best education possible.Unfortunately,in their eagerness to provide the best education often they consider only the affordability factor before deciding on the school or curriculum.

Sure,it is an important parameter,but there are certain other factors one should look at to make the right choice.

Choice of Curriculum
Gone are the days when a parent had just schools of state board or the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) to choose from.Today,there is a wide range of options,including schools following the Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE) and The International Baccalaureate (IB)/ International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) curricula.

You may be already clear about your choice of curriculum,but there are a few points you should consider before making your choice.If the parent /parents have a transferable job and the child has to change schools frequently,they should ideally opt for an ICSE or CBSE school.

Parents in a government job that involves transfer to tier-II towns should ideally opt for a CBSE school.If the transfer is restricted to metros or urban areas,parents can opt for ICSE or a CBSE School."The logic is that ICSE schools are still a rare concept in smaller towns of the country,"says KSR Iyer,a counsellor.

"I have a job with prospects of overseas postings.For some reason,if I migrate to some other country,I don't want my child's education to suffer.Hence I have opted for IGSCE (International General Certificate of Secondary Education) board,"says Sandeep.

Schools Credentials
There are a number of international schools mushrooming in every corner of cities.If the school or the management of the school has a pedigree and expertise in the field of education,it definitely adds to the school's credentials.But that alone is not enough.

"I was keen on sending my child to a school following the IGSCE curriculum.But,after doing some homework,I realised only a few IGSCE/IB schools in India have the right global recognition,"says Meenakshi Rajan,a citybased software engineer."I learnt that the recognised international schools in every country are listed on the IB website (formerly known as International Baccalaureate Organisation (IBO))."

Student-Centric Approach
Today,many schools have recognised that all children are not equally prepared for schooling,especially in the initial years of education.Students may show some learning disorders such as dyslexia,or have stronger visual memory,etc.

Hence,many schools have learning resource centres to give extra coaching to such children to bring them at a par with other students in the class.

"As parents,we think our child will be the best student of the school.But,we may be in for a surprise when our child may actually struggle with the curriculum.Hence,it is better to opt for schools having such resource centres that can mould students,"says a teacher with a popular school in the city.

It is also important for a school to have a healthy teacher-to-child ratio,especially in the lower classes.

"Thanks to the school,I learnt that my daughter is interested in reading and music.We have frequent teacher-parent meetings,which help us understand our child's evolving interests.Now,I can think of formal training in music for my child or,at least,I have an idea what would be her choice of activity in the spare time,"says Abhilasha Joshi,a mother who also runs a beauty salon business.

Times of India | 22nd November 2012 | Education Times

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