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International Schools for Expats in India

Submitted: September 2013

International schools may prove to be the ideal choice for expats who would prefer their children to continue their home-country curriculum. These schools tend to employ well-experienced teachers from the respective home-country who impart similar teaching methods and instructions in their mother tongue. Most of the top international schools have state-of-the-art facilities and infrastructure and feature many extra-curricular activities and are keen on personal development. In most cases the standard of teaching at these schools is often in-line with those in their home (sponsoring) country, which allows for easy transition between schools.

The majority of the top international schools are located within major cities of India with high expat populations such as New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Dehra Dun, and Pune, though several may be in other cities. Of these schools, most follow international curricula provided by the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO, Geneva), Cambridge IGCSE (UK), and the Council of International Schools (CIS, USA). There are also schools which are operated by foreign governments and embassies which teach in other languages such as French, German and Japanese. . Some international schools are also recognized by and supported the Central Board of Secondary Education, India and the Indian Council of Secondary Education among other relevant local bodies.

You could also check to see if your desired choice of school for your children is accredited by any of the major accreditation bodies for school in India. Many accreditation bodies exist depend on the type of curriculum the schools offers, including the International Accreditation Organisation and the CfBT Education Trust. These bodies work with schools to ensure that they are operating at international standards and make reforms where necessary. In addition, some accreditation bodies continually inspect member schools to ensure that they are providing top-quality teaching standards.

Aside from the official accreditations of the above bodies, you should also visit the school yourself. Pertinent questions to ask and factors to consider include:

  • The staff: What is the teacher to student ratio? – this is to ensure that your child obtains as much teacher attention as possible. Also, what steps are taken to make students comfortable in their new environment? What are the entry requirements for teaching staff? – this is know whether your child is being taught by a qualified teacher.
  • Infrastructure of the school: What are the extracurricular facilities like? What are the seating arrangements like? Do they offer air-conditioned classrooms?
  • Anti-bullying policy – it is important to know how the frequency of such incidences and how the school deals with them.
  • Medical staff on premises (or staff with first aid training)
  • Grievances procedure- is there a school board which hears and adjudicates over complaints?

Further, enquire with your High Commission/Embassy in India and request contact information for other expats in the India (if possible). Solicit their views on international schools. As international schools do not teach the national curriculum (unless they opt to), there is less information available online apart from what they provide so it is important to get as much information as you can from other parents.

Tuition fees for international schools are among the highest there are, with most costing much more than what the average Indian student would pay for a college education. Fee structure varies depending on the schools, but most will charge between US $5,000 and $22,000 annually depending on class level and other factors. Other expenses may include boarding fees, books and extra-curricular related. As this may seem quite a bit, most expats have their children school expenses covered in their salary packages.

Despite these fees, international schools are in high demand and available spaces usually fill up quickly. To ensure the best chance of getting your children enrolled, you should apply well in advance of the new school year, although some schools may have a rolling admission policy which allows students to start at any time. Enrolment procedures differ, but you should be prepared to submit your child’s passport and visa information, health records, a copy of birth certificate, previous school records and recommendation letters. In some cases, your child may be required to show up for an interview and an entrance examination.

For a directory of international schools provided by Study Guide India, please click here.

 

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