What is the best school in Gurgaon to send my child to?
That is a question that you hear at least once a week, if not more often (if you are of a certain age, that is). It could be a colleague, a friend, someone in the family, or your own child. We recently had to face a different variation of this question:
Is the current school that we are sending our child to good enough? Should we change her school?
I think it is very difficult to decide what is the best school. The typical criteria that we all look at:
- Is it new or established? Is the name known?
- What is the past academic record for this school?
- Is the focus on studies or extracurricular? How much homework does this school send daily?
- What are the tuition fees? Are there any extra fees outside the tuition fees?
- What is the reputation? Is it a rich-kids school?
- How far from my house it is? Is there a school bus facility? Is it safe and professional? How much does it cost?
- What is the education philosophy? Does it have rote-based learning or experiential learning or something else altogether?
- How is the sports program?
- How are the facilities, the classroom, the cafeteria, etc.?
Recently though we figured out two very important questions that we didn’t ask when we were looking for a school for our daughter a few years ago. And the answer to those questions caused us to change her school this year:
- How much focus does the school have on continuous teacher training?
- How much is the school open for parent feedback? How accessible are the teachers to the parents?
These questions, for us, became very important. You see, no school is perfect. No school will impart perfectly all the tools and learnings that our children need in their life. And we decided early on that we will always have to supplement outside the school. However, we started noticing with her existing (now previous) school that the school doesn’t focus on teaching teachers. We found gaps in how teachers were dealing with children in our daughter’s class – and feedback was received very openly. But no action or training to address these gaps followed. We had a number of students move away from this (otherwise very prestigious) school.
On the other hand, the new school, where our daughter now is, has a weekly teacher training schedule. Every week, the teachers spend over 2 hours in training. This school also allows direct access to the teacher via email and whats-app.
So, how do you decide the best school? It is a mix of what works for you from the questions above, but continuous access to teachers for feedback, as well as focus on teacher training should rank very high on the list of criteria when deciding on a school.